Robinson's surprise as John Barclay bombed for Ross Rennie

 

South of the border at least, it will have come as a bombshell five days out from the Calcutta Cup collision in the west end of Edinburgh. There they have been down in red rose country, making do and mend without a specialist openside flanker, and there was Andy Robinson at Murrayfield yesterday, dropping John Barclay to bench duty.

Magnificent at seven in Scotland's narrow defeat at Twickenham in last season's Six Nations, Barclay might have been considered a banker for selection in many eyes but the Glasgow player – not quite at his best since the World Cup – makes way for Edinburgh's Ross Rennie in Saturday's championship opener.

"This is Ross Rennie's time," Robinson, Scotland's head coach, said. "It's time to give him that spot. He's slightly different to John. In terms of the speed of game we want to play, I think he'll quicken it up. That's the reason for selecting him ahead of John.

"Ross was unlucky at the World Cup and since coming back from New Zealand he's played well for Edinburgh in the games he's started. He's performed as an international rugby player."

It will raise English eyebrows all the more that Rennie could not even get a starting spot on the open-side flank in Edinburgh's Heineken Cup victory against London Irish 10 days ago, losing out to Roddie Grant. Still, the 25-year-old has been highly regarded by Robinson since his time coaching Edinburgh, and as a former England and Lions No 7 Scotland's head honcho knows a thing or two about the No 7 role.

Rennie made his debut against Ireland in the 2008 Six Nations but then spent the best part of two seasons battling to overcome knee problems. He made the Scotland squad for the World Cup last autumn but was given just the one start, against Georgia.

Robinson has made eight changes from the starting XV beaten 16-12 by England in Scotland's final pool game at Eden Park on 1 October. Another of them is in the back row, Rennie's Edinburgh team-mate Dave Denton claiming the No 8 jersey following a series of dynamic displays in the Heineken Cup.

Capped off the bench against Ireland at Murrayfield in August, Denton narrowly missed the cut for Scotland's World Cup squad and was playing for Edinburgh Academicals a year ago. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, he has a Scottish mother and his uncle Johnnie Cole-Hamilton is an executive directive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

"David was unlucky not to go to the World Cup," Robinson said. "He has forced his way into the team – with his ball-carrying, with his defensive ability and his enthusiasm for the game, which is abundant."

At 6ft 5in and 17st 11lb, the mobile Denton will add further size to the Scotland pack. At 5ft 11in and 13st 9lb, Lee Jones, the sole debutant, will bring pace and proven try-scoring ability to the right wing but can be sure of being tested by a Charlie Hodgson bomb or two.

With Ruaridh Jackson on the injured list and, as expected, Dan Parks getting the nod at fly-half, England can expect to encounter some aerial stuff themselves. Robinson, however, bridled at the suggestion that Parks' inclusion meant his team would be playing "a limited game". "You think about the way we played against Wales two years ago when everybody said we were going to kick the ball," the Scotland coach said. "You think about the way that Glasgow played when they ran Toulouse off the field two years ago. Dan was the fly-half both times."

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?