Jones replaces Bennett as Cotter makes three changes

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Huw Jones, Fraser Brown and Josh Strauss will start for Scotland in their Six Nations opener against Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Fit-again centre Jones returns to the side at the expense of Mark Bennett after recovering from a foot injury that kept him out of the hammering of Georgia in November.

Hooker Brown is preferred to the vastly experienced Ross Ford, while back-row Strauss comes in for Glasgow Warriors team-mate Rob Harley.

With Strauss selected at number eight, Ryan Wilson is set to switch to the blindside against Joe Schmidt's men.

Uncapped prop Simon Berghan is in line for a debut after he was named among the replacements.

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter said: "Although it's a reasonably settled squad, it's nice to have an uncapped player and some reasonably new players in the team, who bring their enthusiasm along with the others.

"We've been growing our depth and our versatility within that, so we have a number of different options that allow us to continually attack the opposition, which is our main focus."

 

Scotland team: Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tommy Seymour, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (captain); Allan Dell, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, Hamish Watson, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: Ross Ford, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Tim Swinson, John Barclay, Ali Price, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett.