Scotland drop hat-trick hero as Maitland returns from injury

Scotland drop hat-trick hero as Maitland returns from injury
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LEE SMITH(Reuters)
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EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland have dropped hat-trick hero Blair Kinghorn to make way for the return of Sean Maitland in one of four changes to their team to face Ireland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Maitland returns from a hamstring injury to start at Murrayfield in place of Kinghorn, who drops to the bench despite scoring three tries in the 33-20 win over Italy in Scotland’s opener at home last Saturday.

Coach Gregor Townsend also has another British and Irish Lion in lock Jonny Gray back from injury and he replaces Ben Toolis in the second row.

The other changes see Simon Berghan come into the front row at tighthead in place of WP Nel, who suffered a calf injury against Italy, while Josh Strauss takes the place of Sam Skinner among the loose forwards.

Skinner was forced off early last week with an ankle injury and has since returned to his club Exeter Chiefs for treatment.

Strauss will play eighth man against Ireland with Ryan Wilson moving to the side of the scrum.

Uncapped prop D’Arcy Rae is named among the substitutes while hooker Fraser Brown and centre Pete Horne are fit again and also included among the replacements.

“We picked up two injuries from last week, which is disappointing, but have had a boost with a number of proven test players returning from injury and available to us this week,” Townsend said as he named the team on Thursday.

He described the match against Ireland as “probably the biggest challenge we’ll face in the Six Nations”, even though the Irish started the defence of their title with a home defeat against England last Saturday.

"They (Ireland) are very well coached, have some outstanding players and will test us in a number of areas – defensively, set-piece, attack and kicking game.

"It is a challenge that brings an extra edge and focus to training and something our players relish taking on.

"Our players have risen to the challenge of playing New Zealand, England and other world-class teams and they are aware that we must rise once more to produce one of our best ever performances for 80 minutes,” Townsend added.

Team: 15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Tommy Seymour, 13-Huw Jones, 12-Sam Johnson, 11-Sean Maitland, 10-Finn Russell, 9-Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8-Josh Strauss, 7-Jamie Ritchie, 6-Ryan Wilson, 5-Jonny Gray, 4-Grant Gilchrist, 3-Simon Berghan, 2-Stuart McInally, 1-Allan Dell

Replacements: 16-Fraser Brown, 17-Jamie Bhati, 18-D’Arcy Rae, 19-Ben Toolis, 20-Rob Harley, 21-Ali Price, 22-Pete Horne, 23-Blair Kinghorn.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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