Laidlaw Gets First Start At Scrum-Half

Laidlaw will start his first international at scrum-halfEdinburgh rugby captain Greig Laidlaw will start an international for the first time at scrum-half, the position in which he was reared and in which his uncle, Roy Laidlaw, scored a superb solo try in Scotland's last Twickenham victory in 1983.

Scotland have also awarded a debut to wing Sean Maitland, and a first start in six years to his Glasgow Warriors team-mate Dougie Hall at hooker and recall No 8 Johnnie Beattie in their team for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against England at Twickenham.

Interim head coach Scott Johnson has made six changes and one additional positional switch from the team that ended the EMC Tests with defeat to Tonga in Aberdeen for the Calcutta Cup clash.

In addition to Maitland, Sean Lamont moves from wing to centre, Ruaridh Jackson returns at stand-off to partner Laidlaw, while club mate's Tim Visser (wing) and Matt Scott (centre) also return.

In the pack Ryan Grant is restored from injury at loosehead, Hall begins a Scotland game for the first time since the 2007 Championship match against Ireland at Murrayfield and completing the front-row Euan Murray becomes the 33rd Scot to reach the landmark of 50 or more caps.

Jim Hamilton is recalled to partner Richie Gray in the second-row and, in the back-row, Johnnie Beattie is back on duty for the first time since the pre RWC warm-up match against Ireland at Murrayfield in 2011.

Scotland team to play England in the RBS 6 Nations Championship

Twickenham on Saturday 2 February, kick-off 4pm

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)

14 Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
13 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors)
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby)
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby)

10 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors)
9 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) vice-captain

1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) vice-captain
2 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors)
3 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors)
4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks)
5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester Rugby)
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan)
7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) captain
8 Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier)

Substitutes:
16 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby)
17 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors)
18 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby)
19 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors)
20 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby)
21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors)
22 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
23 Max Evans (Castres)

Johnson said: "I"ve spoken about the importance of this competition, the history and tradition of it, and you couldn't get a more mouth-watering opening than the game between international rugby's oldest foes.

"Selection for us has been about form but also with an eye to the future.

'sean Maitland is very proud to be pulling on the Scotland jersey for the first time._ His family will be rapt because they raised him in New Zealand always reminding him of his Scottish heritage, getting up in the early hours of the morning to watch both the Five and Six Nations games on the TV.

"He's shown he can play footy with the best of them and the impact he's made since arriving at Glasgow in the autumn has underlined what we'd seen of him playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

"I"ve named Greig and Ryan as vice-captains because they"re both quality rugby players and the sort of blokes that I reckon can add to the leadership mix.

"I"ve been impressed by what I"ve seen of Johnnie Beattie._ He brings dynamism to our back-row and we"re looking for him to bring that to bear on Saturday."


Not considered due to injury: Peter Horne, Chris Cusiter, Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby) and Scott Lawson (London Irish).

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)._ Assistant referees: Jerome Garces (France) and Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)._ TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

Notes to editors: Tickets are available for Scotland's three Murrayfield matches in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championship._ You can buy tickets on the website www.scottishrugby.org; via the 24-hour credit card hotline on 0844 335 3933 or in person, 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday from the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre at Murrayfield.
Scotland v Italy, Saturday 9 February: adult tickets at _30, _40 and _70. Students and under-18s at _15, _20 and _35
Scotland v Ireland, Sunday 24 February: adult tickets at _50 and _75. Under-18s at _25 and _37.50
Scotland v Wales, Saturday 9 March: adult tickets at _50 and _75. Under-18s at _25 and _37.50