Scotland name side to face England in Six Nations opener
Zander Fagerson has not been deemed ready to make the 23-man squad for Scotland’s Six Nations opener away to England on Saturday.
The Glasgow prop has been sidelined since the start of December with a hamstring injury, although forwards coach John Dalziel said on Tuesday he was in contention and “in the shape of his life” for the Calcutta Cup showdown.
However, head coach Gregor Townsend has opted to give the 2021 British &Irish Lions squad member more time to get up to speed as he has not been included in the side for this weekend's match at Twickenham.
WP Nel, the 36-year-old Edinburgh prop, takes over from Fagerson in the No 3 jersey.
Other notable selections include Ben White starting at scrum half, with Ali Price - the regular No 9 - not even on the bench, as George Horne provides cover for the position.
Glasgow’s Kyle Steyn has beaten off competition from Blair Kinghorn and Sean Maitland to take the injured Darcy Graham’s place on the wing.
Chris Harris - who starts on the bench - is a surprise omission from the XV, with Huw Jones taking over from the Gloucester centre.
Edinburgh flanker Luke Crosbie is the least experienced player in the 23 with two caps and he starts at openside, while key back-three duo Stuart Hogg and Duhan van der Merwe are both in the XV despite recent fitness concerns.
There is no surprise that Finn Russell is selected at fly half after forcing his way back to the head of the queue for the No 10 jersey with a couple of impressive displays against New Zealand and Argentina in November following his omission from the initial squad for the autumn Tests.
Scotland team to face England: 15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs), 14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors), 13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), 12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), 11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby), 10. Finn Russell (Racing 92), 9. Ben White (London Irish); 1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), 2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), 3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby), 4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), 5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), 6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby), 7. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby), 8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)
Replacements: 16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), 17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), 18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors), 19. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), 20. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors), 21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), 22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby), 23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby)