Greig Laidlaw can't wait to team up with Glasgow's Ruaridh Jackson

GREIG LAIDLAW is relishing the prospect of his half-back pairing with Glasgow's Ruaridh Jackson for Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash with England.

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Greig Laidlaw is ready to partner Ruaridh Jackson for Scotland's Calcutta Cup clash
Greig Laidlaw is ready to partner Ruaridh Jackson for Scotland's Calcutta Cup clash

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson has made six changes and one additional positional switch for the Twickenham clash from the team that ended the Autumn Tests with defeat to Tonga.

The most noticeable of these are a debut for Glasgow wing Sean Maitland, while Warriors hooker Dougie Hall claims his first start in six years and at No.8 former Glasgow back row Johnnie Beattie returns after missing all of last season's Six Nations.

With the match also being the Scots' tournament opener, Johnson has made it clear that he wants his men to use the high tempo flair play of Laidlaw and Jackson to really take the game to Stuart Lancaster's side.

The Warriors man twice replaced his Edinburgh counterpart in last season's championship in the defeats by Ireland and Italy, but the pair have never started a championship game in harness.

Laidlaw said: "It is very exciting to be playing alongside Ruaridh and I think that underlines that Scott Johnson really wants us to play the game on the front foot and take the match to England.

"If we can get quick ball then Scott has pretty much given us a free rein to take the game to the English and play at the highest tempo we can, as flat to the gain line as possible.

"I think for us as a group of players that is really energising. But obviously Ruaridh plays with a lot of flair and given this will be the first time we have started in tandem at nine and 10 it is a very exciting prospect.

"I watched Ruaridh's performance against Northampton in the Heineken Cup recently and he was outstanding.

"He ran the show against one of the best teams in England and there is no doubt he can do the same against the English international side at Twickenham.

"I think Ruaridh is a big-game player and they don't get much bigger than the Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham."

Of course Scotland's recent history on England's home turf has been a tale of woe that is as gloomy as any in the nation's sporting spectrum, with the last Scots success coming way back in 1983.

But Laidlaw revealed that statistic is a huge motivating factor and said: "The bottom line is that we are determined to be the Scotland team that achieves that victory and if we do it would give us a massive platform for the rest of the championship.

"So we want to produce a performance and a result that will have the whole of Scotland looking forward with hope."

Scotland: Hogg, Maitland, Lamont, Scott, Visser, Jackson, Laidlaw, Grant, Hall, Murray, Gray, Hamilton, Strokosch, Brown, Beattie. Replacements: Ford, Low, Cross, Kellock, Denton, Pyrgos, Weir, Evans.


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