Rugby-Gray, Dempsey return for Scots as Hogg reaches milestone v Ireland

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v England - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - February 5, 2022 Scotland's Jonny Gray in action REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

(Reuters) - Lock Jonny Gray and number eight Jack Dempsey have been drafted into the Scotland team to face Ireland in the Six Nations at Murrayfield on Sunday as fullback Stuart Hogg becomes the fourth player to reach 100 caps for the side.

Coach Gregor Townsend has made two changes from the team that lost 32-21 in France last time out, with Gray to partner his brother Richie in the second row as Grant Gilchrist misses out through suspension.

Dempsey earns a first start of the championship at the back of the scrum as captain Jamie Ritchie moves to openside flanker and Matt Fagerson is on the blindside.

The front row comprises hooker George Turner, who will have props Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson either side of him.

The backline remains unchanged for the fourth game in a row as Hogg reaches his century of caps having made his debut in 2012.

Only former hooker Ross Ford (110 caps), fullback Chris Paterson (109) and wing Sean Lamont (105) are ahead of Hogg on the all-time list.

He is part of a back three that includes South African-born wings Kyle Steyn and Duhan van der Merwe, while Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones continue their centre partnership. Scrumhalf Ben White is alongside mercurial flyhalf Finn Russell.

Scotland need a win to keep their championship hopes alive but Ireland have been victorious in the last seven meetings between the sides, and in 11 of the previous 12.

Scotland team:

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 99 caps

14. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 8 caps

13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 34 caps

12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 14 caps

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 26 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) 68 caps

9. Ben White (London Irish) 12 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 19 caps

2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 33 caps

3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 56 caps

4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 72 caps

5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – 75 caps

6. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps

7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 39 caps

8. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps


16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 60 caps

17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps

18. Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors) 32 caps

19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) 23 caps

20. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) 55 caps

21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) 59 caps

22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 41 caps

23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 41 caps

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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