Hastings replaces Russell as Haining makes Scotland debut

Gregor Townsend has named his team for the opening match of the Six Nations.

Haining has been handed a chance to shine. SNS
Haining has been handed a chance to shine.

Adam Hastings has been named as Finn Russell’s replacement for Scotland as the national team begin their Six Nations campaign against Ireland on Saturday.

Russell left the squad after being told he would not be involved in the game, having broken team rules on drinking alcohol during the training camp.

His absence gives Hastings the opportunity to stake a claim to the number ten jersey, with Russell’s international future in doubt.

Head coach Gregor Townsend has also given a chance to Nick Haining, with the Bristol Bears player making his debut at number eight.

Edinburgh prop Rory Sutherland makes his first international appearance since 2016 and back-rower Hamish Watson and scrum-half Ali Price both return.

Bristol Bears number eight Nick Haining will also win his first cap against Andy Farrell’s team while Edinburgh prop Rory Sutherland will make his first international appearance in three-and-a-half years.

“We have managed to cover a lot of work in the two weeks we’ve been together and we’ve been impressed with how our players have taken on information and bonded as a team,” he said.

“Our goal is always to play to our potential. The challenge to do this starts on Saturday against Ireland.

“Playing to our potential starts with our collective mindset. That means being alert, focused and resilient right from the beginning, to be ready for the physical battle that lies ahead and able to stay in the fight throughout the 80 minutes.

“We must be a relentless collective on the pitch and a nightmare for the Irish to deal with, while having the ability and awareness to impose our game at that intensity.

“As coaches, we put frameworks together and create an environment for them to thrive and reach their potential but ultimately it’s the players who go out and deliver.

“We’re looking forward to seeing them play in Dublin.”

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