Six Nations 2014: Chris Fusaro set for Scotland debut in Calcutta Cup
Six Nations 2014: Chris Fusaro is set to make his Scotland debut against England in the Calcutta Cup
Chris Fusaro will make his debut for Scotland as one of three changes for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup against England at Murrayfield.
The 24-year-old replaces captain Kelly Brown for the much-anticipated Six Nations clash to become Scotland’s 1,052nd cap.
I’m still pinching myself a bit
His Glasgow Warriors team-mate Tommy Seymour replaces the injured Sean Maitland on the wing with Edinburgh centre Matt Scott replacing Duncan Taylor who drops to the bench.
Fusaro told scottishrugby.org: “I’m absolutely delighted. Being the Calcutta Cup, there’s no better game to get your first cap. I’m still pinching myself a bit.”
Experienced Newcastle Falcons hooker Scott Lawson is given the nod over Pat MacArthur on the bench with Jonny Gray preferred to his brother Richie as second row cover.
With Kelly Brown unlucky to be out of the match-day squad and back with Saracens this weekend, Edinburgh scrum-half Greig Laidlaw captains Scotland for the fourth time.
Despite problems with the set pieces against Ireland on Sunday, Scotland head coach Scott Johnson has left the rest of the forwards untouched with limited options in the front row.
The Aussie admitted it was difficult to leave Brown out, but believes Fusaro’s skills as a ball-winner on the ground, and improvements in his game over the last year, were enough to warrant a start against Scotland’s fiercest rivals.
Johnson said: “Fusaro is picked to do a certain role and we believe there’s an opportunity for him to do it. England are powerful, they have an edge to their side and are assertive and aggressive. They will probably consider themselves unlucky last weekend but it’s not always brute force that wins these games.”
In the backs, Warriors players dominate with Stuart Hogg continuing at fullback after another impressive performance against Ireland, with Alex Dunbar at centre and, Sean Lamont, the most-experienced player on the pitch, on the wing, while Duncan Weir continues to partner Laidlaw in the half-backs.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); Tommy Seymour (Glasgow), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Sean Lamont (Glasgow); Duncan Weir (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh, captain); Ryan Grant (Glasgow), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Murray Low (Glasgow), Tim Swinson (Glasgow), Jim Hamilton (Montpellier), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow), Chris Fusaro (Glasgow), David Denton (Edinburgh).
Replacements: Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Max Evans (Castres).