Scrum-half Ali Price has been handed a surprise start for Scotland’s World Cup Pool B qualification shootout with Ireland on Saturday, as regular number nine Ben White misses out on a place in the 23 altogether.
The 30-year-old Glasgow back made the number nine jersey his own for three years until losing his spot to the burgeoning White at the start of this year’s Six Nations.
But after scoring a try when a much-changed XV defeated Romania in Lille last Saturday, Price has remained in the team for this weekend’s Paris showdown.
White is not even listed among the substitutes, with George Horne the replacement scrum-half.
Captain Jamie Ritchie returns to lead the team after going off with concussion in the first half of the Tonga match a fortnight ago.
Price in place of White is the only change to the team that started the match against South Africa on the opening weekend of the tournament.
The scrum-half had spoken in Nice earlier this week about how his improved maturity had helped him deal with losing his place just two years after being selected for British and Irish Lions duty.
But he now appears to have convinced Gregor Townsend that he is worthy of being pitched back into the thick of it for one of Scotland’s biggest games in years as they bid to get a bonus-point win over the Irish or deny their opponents a losing bonus in order to reach the quarter-finals.
Hamish Watson, another 2021 Lion who has fallen from prominence this year, has not made the 23 despite impressing against Romania last weekend.
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