Dewey leads charge of Scotland's heavy brigade

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Prior to kick-off at Murrayfield this afternoon there will be the usual pipe and drum bands, followed by the firing of a field gun by the City of Edinburgh Universities Officer Training Corps. Then it will be time to wheel out the tank. The tank in the navy blue No 12 shirt, that is.

At 6ft 3in and 17st 8lb, Rob Dewey is a sizeable unit - 4st 11lb heavier than the player who lines up opposite him. If James Hook is the new big thing in Welsh rugby, Dewey is the new very big thing in the Scottish game. The Edinburgh centre has two tries from two Test appearances; Hook has two from seven.

Summoned from the bench at Twickenham last Saturday, as Scotland took a 42-20 thumping, Dewey succeeded in giving Mike Tindall the slip for a late try. It followed a try-scoring debut at Murrayfield in November against Romania.

The 23-year-old would have been in Frank Hadden's starting plans a week ago, rather than one of three draftees called up for today's contest, with Phil Godman and Scott Murray, had he not suffered knee cartilage damage on his Test debut. Hadden intended to launch his career last season, until Dewey suffered two serious shoulder injuries.

The Scotland coach could not suppress a smile when asked if he was relishing the prospect of his man running at Hook this afternoon. "Absolutely," Hadden replied.

The pair have met; Hook played at outside-half when the Ospreys beat Edinburgh 17-11 in the Magners League at the Liberty Stadium in September. "He was brilliant," Dewey said. "He turned the game. He's got pace and a very good sidestep."

Having leaked four tries against England, Scotland's objective today will be to tighten their tackling. Wales might have failed to score a try in their 19-9 defeat to Ireland last Sunday but, with Mark Jones back on the right wing, Kevin Morgan and Ryan Jones in fine ball-carrying form and Dwayne Peel, on the occasion of his 50th cap, seeking the gaps Harry Ellis exploited at Twickenham, Scotland have every reason to be wary.

When Wales made the trip to Murrayfield for the penultimate leg of their 2005 Grand Slam, they blitzed the Scots with six tries in the first 49 minutes.

Born in Wiltshire, Dewey was brought up in St Andrews, where his father introduced him to rugby. The late John Dewey played for Gosforth in the 1970s, alongside Roger Uttley.

"Obviously, there's a lot made of my size," Dewey said. "But there's a lot more than size that I've got to offer. If there's a gap, I like to think I've got the pace to take it."

The player he idolised in his youth was blessed much the same instinct, if not quite the same bulk. Va'aiga Tuigamala weighed in at mere 17st 4lb.

Murrayfield teams


15 H Southwell (Edinburgh)

14 S Lamont (N'hampton)

13 M Di Rollo (Edinburgh)

12 R Dewey (Edinburgh)

11 C Paterson (E'burgh, capt)

10 P Godman (Edinburgh)

9 C Cusiter (Borders)

1 G Kerr (Borders)

2 D Hall (Edinburgh)

3 E Murray (Glasgow)

4 J Hamilton (Leicester)

5 S Murray (Edinburgh)

6 S Taylor (Edinburgh)

7 K Brown (Borders)

8 D Callam (Edinburgh)

Replacements: R Ford (Borders); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh); N Hines (Perpignan); A Hogg (Edinburgh); R Lawson (Gloucester); S Webster (Edinburgh); N Walker (Ospreys).


15 K Morgan (Dragons)

14 M Jones (Scarlets)

13 J Robinson (Blues)

12 J Hook (Ospreys)

11 C Czekaj (Blues)

10 S Jones (Scarlets, capt)

9 D Peel (Scarlets)

1 D Jones (Ospreys)

2 R Thomas (Blues)

3 A Jones (Ospreys)

4 R Sidoli (Blues)

5 A Wyn Jones (Ospreys)

6 A Popham (Scarlets)

7 M Williams (Blues)

8 R Jones (Ospreys)

Replacements: M Rees (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Blues); I Gough (Dragons); J Thomas (Ospreys); M Phillips (Blues); C Sweeney (Dragons); T Shanklin (Blues).

Referee: A Lewis (Ireland)

Kick-off: 3.30pm (BBC 1)