Gregor Townsend has picked London Irish scrum-half Ben White up of nan vastly much knowledgeable Ali Price successful his starting line-up to look England astatine Twickenham successful nan opening crippled of nan Six Nations tomorrow.
Scotland’s regular No.9 Price has not moreover made it connected to nan chair for nan Caluctta Cup showdown – but coach Townsend backed him to bounce backmost strongly.
Price, 29, has been a champion passim Townsend’s five-and-a-half-year reign, winning 58 caps since his debut successful 2016, but has struggled for shape astatine Glasgow.
The caput coach said: ‘Ali and I person worked together for a number of years and he has been very bully for america complete that period.
‘We chatted a week agone astir really it was important he improved, whether that was conscionable done training aliases getting crippled clip pinch Glasgow. He’s very alert of that, excessively – he did play good astatine nan weekend.
‘Non-selection tin motivate you successful 2 ways. It tin get you much disappointed aliases it tin springiness you a guidance – but we’re already seeing that guidance from Ali and I’m judge he’ll beryllium backmost to his champion very soon.’
Townsend’s determination to driblet Price (right) was aided by nan awesome shape of White. He said: ‘We person gone for players successful really bully form. Ben’s been really accordant ever since he came into our squad. He’s started nan mostly of games for London Irish this year.
‘His kicking crippled is outstanding, he’s very competitory and he’s grown successful confidence, truthful there’s personification successful shape who tin play nan crippled we want to play.’
Price is 1 of 4 members of nan 2021 British and Irish Lions squad who person grounded to make Townsend’s starting XV, pinch Gloucester centre Chris Harris dropping to nan chair and Glasgow prop Zander Fagerson and Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson missing retired connected fittingness grounds.
Hogg, Steyn, Jones, Tuipulotu, van der Merwe, Russel, White, Schoeman, Turner, Nel, R Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie (capt), Crosbie, Fagerson
Replacements: Brown, Bhatti, Berghan, J Gray, Dempsey, Horne, Kinghorn, Harris
Glasgow’s Huw Jones has sewage nan motion complete Harris astatine centre, while 36-year-old prop WP Nel is successful up of Fagerson, who has been retired since December pinch a hamstring injury.
Flanker Luke Crosbie will triumph his 3rd headdress successful spot of Edinburgh team-mate Watson, who returned past play aft being sidelined since November by concussion.
Townsend said: ‘Huw has played good successful immoderate of nan biggest fixtures we’ve played complete nan years but it’s down to his shape complete nan past 3 aliases 4 games (for Glasgow).
‘We cognize we’ve sewage a superb subordinate successful Chris Harris connected nan chair but we want to backmost Huw successful this game.’
‘Zander started training afloat from nan mediate of past week but we consciousness this crippled has conscionable travel a fewer days excessively early for him. WP still playing good successful his mid-30s is simply a bonus. To spot him play truthful good for Edinburgh against Saracens precocious and play 80 minutes shows he’s perchance successful nan champion style he’s been successful in years.
‘Hamish played good past week but it’s a large measurement up to person missed 2 and a half months and spell from that correct into a Calcutta Cup game. Luke has been fantabulous this play and he’s earned nan opportunity to start.’
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