Scots pick former Wilkinson understudy

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It is a fair bet that Frank Hadden spent 80 minutes at Twickenham last Saturday wishing he had a phenomenon like Jonny Wilkinson to ignite his team from fly-half. He does not, but he does have a one-time Wilkinson understudy.

In the three years that Phil Godman spent at Newcastle, he became accustomed to watching the great man from the bench. Last Saturday, the 24-year-old was sitting in his armchair at his Edinburgh home watching coverage of Wilkinson putting Scotland to the sword. Yesterday, he was ushered into the No 10 shirt for Scotland's match against Wales at Murrayfield this Saturday, with Dan Parks banished in the opposite direction - right out of the 22-man Scottish squad.

It was a left-field selection that few saw coming. Godman has been second choice at outside-half for Edinburgh in recent weeks, behind the veteran Duncan Hodge. Though Parks had been expected to pay for the limitations exposed in his all-round game in the 42-20 Calcutta Cup defeat, Chris Paterson was seen as the man most likely to get his No 10 shirt, the Scotland captain having reverted to his old position from the wing for the last 15 minutes at Twickenham.

Instead - in a shake-up that has also brought in the giant Rob Dewey at inside centre and Scott Murray at lock - Hadden has turned to a player who was in his First XV when he was rugby master at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh.

"We believe that Phil is a guy with world-class attacking skills," Hadden said. "He needs an opportunity to show that he can lead Scotland to victory this weekend."

It will be Godman's second start for Scotland - he scored 18 points in a 48-6 Murrayfield win against Romania in November - and his first involvement in the Six Nations. "It's where I want to be," he said. "Hopefully, I can take my chance.

"I learned a lot from Jonny at Newcastle, and from Rob Andrew. They taught me what it takes if you want to be the best: a lot of natural talent and a lot of hard work as well."

Wales yesterday welcomed back the Llanelli Scarlets winger Mark Jones, who has recovered from an ankle injury and will start at Murrayfield in place of Harlequins' Hal Luscombe, who has a knee injury.

That is the only change made by the Wales coach, Gareth Jenkins, to the threequarters who faced Ireland last week, which means there is no place in the 22 for Gavin Henson. The wing Shane Williams was not considered because he has a stomach bug.

Up front, the props Adam Jones and Duncan Jones replace Chris Horsman and Gethin Jenkins and Robert Sidoli starts at lock instead of Ian Gough.

Ireland's captain, Brian O'Driscoll, has been given a 50-50 chance of recovering from a hamstring injury in time to face France at Croke Park on Sunday.

He is being given as long as possible to try to regain full fitness, but the signs are not good and if he does not start, Shane Horgan, who has made a remarkably quick recovery from knee surgery last month, will move from the right wing, where he was named yesterday, to outside centre.

Leicester's Geordan Murphy, picked on the bench, would then take over on the right wing with Andrew Trimble, who has been dropped unless O'Driscoll is unfit, returning to the bench. O'Driscoll's centre partner, Gordon D'Arcy, is expected to recover from a groin strain.

The scrum-half Peter Stringer has a fractured hand - Ulster's Isaac Boss will start and Wasps' Eoin Reddan will come on to the bench should the Munster No 9 drop out. The No 8 Denis Leamy is also doubtful, having had an abscess lanced on Monday. If he is unfit his replacement will be Ulster's Neil Best or Leinster's Jamie Heaslip.

Six Nations teams

SCOTLAND H Southwell (Edinburgh); S Lamont (Northampton), M Di Rollo, R Dewey, C Paterson (capt); P Godman (all Edinburgh), C Cusiter; G Kerr (both Borders), D Hall (Edinburgh), E Murray (Glasgow), J Hamilton (Leicester), S Murray, S Taylor (both Edinburgh), K Brown (Borders) 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).

WALES K Morgan (Dragons); M Jones (Scarlets), J Robinson (Blues), J Hook (Ospreys), C Czekaj (Blues); S Jones (capt), D Peel (both Scarlets); D Jones (Ospreys), R Thomas (Blues), A Jones, A Wyn Jones (both Ospreys), R Sidoli (Blues), A Popham (Scarlets), M Williams (Blues), 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).

IRELAND G Dempsey, S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, D Hickie (all Leinster), R O'Gara, P Stringer; Horan (all Munster), R Best (Ulster), J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell (all Munster), S Easterby (Scarlets), D Wallace, D Leamy (both Munster). Replacements: J Flannery (Munster), S Best, N Best (both Ulster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), I Boss (Ulster), E Reddan (Wasps), P Wallace (Ulster), G Murphy (Leicester), A Trimble (Ulster).

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