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Scotland and Ireland named for Celtic clash

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James Mortimer, scottishrugby.org and irishrugby.ie     21 Feb 2013     Getty Images

Cross, who scored a try against New Zealand in his last start for Scotland, is the only change from the team that began the 34-10 victory over Italy earlier this month.Cross replaces Euan Murray, the Worcester tight-head, who is unavailable for this weekend as a result of his Christian faith.

Meanwhile on the bench, Dougie Hall has recovered from the knee injury he sustained against England and is restored as replacement hooker.

His Glasgow Warriors team-mate, prop Jon Welsh, also wins a place on the bench, his first involvement in a matchday 23 since he returned home early from last summer’s tour to the South Pacific to undergo shoulder surgery.

Alastair Kellock will become the 34th Scot to reach the landmark of 50 caps for his country if he is introduced to the action from the bench.

Meanwhile there are two new caps in the Ireland team to play Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 2pm).

Paddy Jackson, who captained the Ireland Under-20s in last season's Championship, and Luke Marshall, who starred in November's non-cap international against Fiji, will make their full international debuts at out-half and centre respectively.

The Ireland team contains a strong mix of youth and experience and shows several changes to the side which started the recent 12-6 defeat to England.

Keith Earls will take over on the left wing from the injured Simon Zebo, joining full-back Rob Kearney and Craig Gilroy in an exciting back-three.

With Jonathan Sexton and Gordon D'Arcy also ruled out through injury, Ulster youngsters Jackson and Marshall (both 21) will make the step up at half-back and in midfield.

In the pack, Tom Court returns to the front row alongside Rory Best, who wins his 65th cap at hooker, and Mike Ross.

Donncha O'Callaghan will line out for his 93rd cap alongside Donnacha Ryan in the second row. O'Callaghan will be taking over from Malcolm O'Kelly (92 caps) as Ireland's most-capped lock.

Among the replacements Luke Fitzgerald makes a return to the international squad, while Iain Henderson and Devin Toner have also been included on the bench.

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson said: “We have to improve on our last game and that’s been our theme at training all week.

“I make no apology for saying again that we have to step up our work in the contact area. Yes, we’ve some talented athletes in the squad , but we have to give them the opportunities.

“It’s good to see players challenging for selection – and there are a number consistently putting their hands up, which is exactly what we want to see.

“But we’ve kept changes to a minimum and are saying to the players: ‘You’ve won one game. Now go out show us you can win another’.”

Scotland team (sponsor RBS) to play Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Sunday 24 February at Murrayfield (kick-off 2pm)

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 12 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
14 Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps, 1 try, 5 points
13 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 73 caps, 9 tries, 45 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) 9 caps, 1 try, 5 points
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) 7 caps, 5 tries, 25 points
10 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 17 caps, 2 conversions, 2 penalties, 2 drop-goals, 16 points
9 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) vice-captain, 15 caps, 2 tries, 16 conversions and 26 penalties, 120 points

1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) vice-captain, 7 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) 65 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby) 18 caps, 1 try, 5 points
4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks) 29 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester) 43 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Robert Harley (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps, 1 try, 5 points
7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) captain, 54 caps, 4 tries, 20 points
8 Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) 18 caps, 3 tries, 15 points

Substitutes
16 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), 40 caps, 1 try, 5 points
17 Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors), 1 cap
18 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 16 caps
19 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 49 caps, 1 try, 5 points
20 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 11 caps
21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps, 1 try, 5 points
22 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps, 1 conversion, 2 points
23 Max Evans (Castres) 34 caps, 3 tries, 15 points

Ireland Team & Replacements (v Scotland, 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Murrayfield, Sunday, February 24, kick-off 2pm):

Club/Province/International Caps -

15 - Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster/43)
14 - Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster/3)
13 - Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster/122)
12 - Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster) *
11 - Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster/36)
10 - Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) *
9 - Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster/16)
1 - Tom Court (Malone/Ulster/29)
2 - Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster/64)
3 - Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster/26)
4 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster/92)
5 - Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster/25)
6 - Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster/11)
7 - Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster/24)
8 - Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster/54) (capt)

Replacements:

16 - Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster/24)
17 - David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster/4)
18 - Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster/4)
19 - Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster/3)
20 - Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster/2)
21 - Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster/48)
22 - Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster/127)
23 - Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster/23)