These are desperate times for Scotland, three games and three defeats into the 2008 Six Nations Championship. The Scotsman yesterday carried an advert for a "free Book of Bannockburn" to be issued with the national newspaper on the morning of England's visit to Edinburgh for the Calcutta Cup. "1314, took the fight to the auld enemy," it trumpeted. "Saturday 15:15, back for more."
It was Murrayfield 2006 that Frank Hadden had in mind, though, when the Scotland coach revealed details of his troop deployments. It took a monumental manning of the ramparts to achieve an 18-12 victory the last time England visited and to do so again Hadden has turned to a player he calls "the ultimate warrior", Simon Taylor, and kept faith with another who once considered a career in Ultimate Fighting, Alasdair Strokosch.
Taylor comes in at No 8 for Kelly Brown, the two-time British Lion having returned to action for Stade Français after dislocating a tendon in his thumb. "I've described Simon as the ultimate warrior before," Hadden said. "I think I've only seen him play poorly once in his career. I have enormous confidence in his ability to step up to the plate on Saturday."
Strokosch keeps his place on the blind-side flank thanks to a stand-out display in the 34-13 defeat in Ireland. Jason White is on the bench after recovering from a knock to the head.
There is one other change in the starting XV – Graeme Morrison replacing Andy Henderson at inside centre – but the bench features five forwards (White covering lock as well as No 6), two half-backs and no three-quarters.
"That reflects the huge effort that we believe will be required up front," Hadden said. "We believe it's going to be a massive battleground and we're determined to have a massive say in the outcome of the battle."Reuse content