Scots recall Barclay for Six Nations

Scotland have recalled flanker John Barclay for their opening Six Nations championship game against England at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Blindside Barclay, who did not feature at last year’s World Cup and has played just two tests since 2013, has been in good form this season for his club side Scarlets and starts in place of Blair Cowan who drops to the bench.

In the only other change to the starting side from Scotland’s last game, their agonising last-gasp World Cup quarter-final defeat by Australia in October, Matt Scott replaces the injured Peter Horne at inside centre.

Scott will line up alongside Mark Bennett who has been passed fit to play after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Uncapped prop Zander Fagerson has been named as a replacement.

Scotland, who took the wooden-spoon in last year’s championship after losing all five matches, have not beaten England since 2008.

Coach Vern Cotter said Scotland were “determined to learn from past experiences” but expected a feisty test from an England side playing their first match under new coach Eddie Jones.

“England will look to build their game from set-phase dominance, while we expect them to have developed their attacking play into the wider channels, which can create challenges as well as opportunities,” he said in a Scottish RFU statement.

“We’re expecting them to be extremely motivated and physical, and we’re looking forward to that challenge. “Continuity and accuracy will be key for us in this game.”

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Tommy Seymour, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Al Dickinson, Ross Ford, WP Nel, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, John Hardie, David Denton.

Replacements: Stuart McInally, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Blair Cowan, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Duncan Weir, Duncan Taylor.

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