Tommy Bowe represents just one of a number of changes for both sides ahead of the clash between Scotland and Ireland on Sunday. Such is the importance of Bowe’s return, his inclusion on the wing eclipses the change at fly-half for both sides, as Ronan O’Gara replaces Jonathan Sexton for Ireland while Ruaridh Jackson starts for the Scots in place of Dan Parks.
Bowe comes in for his first match of the 2011 6 Nations Championship as he recovers from injury, Fergus McFadden dropping from the squad all together following two strong performances to date. Bowe has scored 16 international tries to date, including five last year as he was named the 2010 6 Nations Player of the Tournament.
Elsewhere Ireland manager Declan Kidney has switched his half-back pairing with Sexton and Tomas O’Leary lose out at fly-half and scrum-half respectively having started the previous two matches. In their places come O’Gara and Eoin Reddan following the loss away to France two weeks ago.
Scotland have made even more changes than Ireland, with Jackson making his starting debut in place of Parks who was unable to breathe life into a listless Scottish backline that was unable to cross the whitewash at home to Wales.
Scotland, like Ireland, have changed both their half-backs, Rory Lawson dropping to the bench in favour of Mike Blair, the Edinburgh scrum-half.
Further changes to place throughout Andy Robinson’s side, as Hugo Southwell and Joe Ansbro are injured, Euan Murray is unavailable due to religious grounds, and Nathan Hines and Richie Vernon drop to the bench.
In come Chris Paterson, who is yet to play this year for Scotland, Sean Lamont, Moray Low, Richie Gray, and Johnnie Beattie, while Nic de Luca switches from inside to outside centre to accommodate Lamont, who has looked threatening off the bench in both of Scotland’s matches in this season’s tournament.
Scotland take on Ireland, with both sides having won once in this year’s championships, at Murrayfield on Sunday at 15:00.
Scotland: Chris Paterson; Nikki Walker, Nick De Luca, Sean Lamont, Max Evans; Ruaridh Jackson, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Moray Low, Richie Gray, Alastair Kellock, Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie.
Replacements: Scott Lawson, Geoff Cross, Nathan Hines, Richie Vernon, Rory Lawson, Dan Parks, Simon Danielli.
Ireland: L Fitzgerald, T Bowe, B O’Driscoll (cpt), G D’Arcy, K Earls, R O’Gara, E Reddan; C Healy, R Best, M Ross, D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell, S O’Brien, D Wallace, J Heaslip.
Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, L Cullen, D Leamy, P Stringer, J Sexton, P Wallace.