Injuries force Hadden into major reshuffle

When the fog cleared around Murrayfield yesterday and Frank Hadden came to reveal his team for Saturday's Six Nations Championship encounter in Dublin, Scotland's head coach was accompanied by his two assistants, Alan Tait and George Graham. David Bowie might have been a more appropriate companion, because "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes" was very much the theme of the late-morning announcement in the Hawthorn Suite.

After striking a couple of bum notes in their opening two games, losing to the tune of 27-6 against France in Edinburgh and 30-15 against Wales in Cardiff, Scotland will have a new captain, a new outside-half and a minimum of four changes in personnel when they run out for the first time at Croke Park. They could yet have more reinforcements in their ranks, because the naming of 13 players yesterday was not a cunning plan of Baldrickian dimensions (with the possible intention of luring the hosts into a false sense of security) but a temporary measure while Hadden and his assistants assess their back row options following the latest freak accident to befall the jinxed rear-gunners in their pack.

Jason White has already been ruled out of selection in that department, having failed to recover from the knock on the head that he suffered in the early exchanges at the Millennium Stadium 11 days ago. His role as captain has been passed to scrum-half Mike Blair, who has led by shining example when called upon to lead Edinburgh this season. White's place as blindside flanker has been given to Alasdair Strokosch, who has distinguished himself in the Gloucester No 6 shirt this season.

A former Scotland age-group karate international, Strokosch has only one cap, courtesy of a 10-minute cameo against the Wallabies at Murrayfield in 2006. John Barclay is a veteran of three Scotland appearances but the Glasgow player's selection as openside flanker depends on how he recovers from a spot of domestic bother that left him with nine stitches in a finger wound. "He was having dinner with friends, holding a glass in his hand on a chair, when somebody sat on the glass," Hadden reported. "Sadly, there was no damage to the person's rear end."

By unhappy coincidence, a bout of food poisoning forced Simon Taylor out of the Stade Français starting XV last weekend and, given that he is still coming back from a thumb injury, the Scot with the Wilkinsonesque medical record has been ruled out for the numbers seven and eight spots to be decided after Hadden and his staff assess Barclay's handling in training today.

The other changes resolved yesterday brought Scott MacLeod in for Jim Hamilton in the second row and Simon Webster in for Nick De Luca at outside centre while Chris Paterson switches from the left-wing to replace Dan Parks at outside-half and Rory Lamont returns after injury to fill the No 11 jersey vacated by Paterson's move. Only time will tell whether it has all been an exercise in deckchair rearrangement, although the object, naturally, is to raise the Scots from the depths of two abject performances.

"We know exactly what we need to do to fix the problem," Hadden maintained. "We're expecting a much more vigorous performance. We're expecting to make it much more difficult for the Irish defence than we did for the Welsh defence."

It remains to be seen whether that Irish defence will include Brian O'Driscoll. The Ireland captain suffered a tightened calf muscle in training yesterday but was still named at outside-centre in a starting XV featuring two changes to the team beaten 26-21 in Paris the Saturday before last: Tommy Bowe for Geordan Murphy on the right wing and Mick O'Driscoll for Malcolm O'Kelly in the second row. "We expect Brian will be fine," Eddie O'Sullivan insisted, though the Ireland coach has kept Luke Fitzgerald with his squad in case Shane Horgan is required to step up from bench duty.

Saturday's Dublin teams

Ireland

15 G Dempsey (Leinster)

14 T Bowe (Ulster)

13 B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt)

12 A Trimble (Ulster)

11 R Kearney (Leinster)

10 R O'Gara (Munster)

9 E Reddan (Munster)

1 M Horan (Munster)

2 B Jackman (Leinster)

3 J Hayes (Munster)

4 D O'Callaghan (Munster)

5 M O'Driscoll (Munster)

6 D Leamy (Munster)

7 D Wallace (Munster)

8 J Heaslip (Leinster)

Replacements: 16 R Best (Ulster), 17 T Buckley, 18 P O'Connell (both Munster), 19 S Easterby (Scarlets), 20 P Stringer (Munster), 21 P Wallace (Ulster), 22 S Horgan (Leinster).

Scotland

15 H Southwell (Edinburgh)

14 N Walker (Ospreys)

13 S Webster (Edinburgh)

12 A Henderson (Glasgow)

11 R Lamont (Sale)

10 C Paterson (Gloucester)

9 M Blair (Edinburgh, capt)

1 A Jacobsen (Edinburgh)

2 R Ford (Edinburgh)

3 E Murray (Northampton)

4 N Hines (Perpignan)

5 S MacLeod (Scarlets)

6 A Strokosch (Gloucester)

7 AN Other

8 AN Other

Replacements: 16 F Thomson (Glasgow), 17 G Kerr (Edinburgh), 18 J Hamilton (Leicester), 19 AN Other 20 C Cusiter (Perpignan), 21 D Parks (Glasgow), 22 N De Luca (Edinburgh).

Kick-off: 5pm (BBC 1), Referee: C Berdos (France)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public