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Scotland make two changes for Ireland game

Scotland rugby coach Vern Cotter made two changes to his pack on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations finale against champions Ireland at Murrayfield.

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Prop Ryan Grant, making his first start of the championship, and flanker Adam Ashe move up from the bench to replace Alasdair Dickinson and Rob Harley respectively.

Both Dickinson and Harley drop to the bench where the only other change sees wing Tim Visser replace back row forward Johnnie Beattie as Cotter reverts to a selection of five forwards and three backs amongst his replacements instead of the six-two split he favoured last week against England at Twickenham.

Tight-head Euan Murray will make history by overtaking Allan Jacobsen’s record for a prop with his 66th Scotland appearance.

Scotland have lost all four games in this season’s tournament so far while Ireland are looking for a victory to help them retain the title.

England are currently top of the standings, but lead Ireland and Wales only on points difference, with the final round of matches set to determine the champions.

Despite Scotland’s failure to win so far, Cotter says it was important to maintain consistency in a group whose performances have suggested they should have got more out of the tournament.

“There is a strong culture in this group. Players want to do well and set the standards high,” the New Zealander said.

“We’ve played with a huge amount of spirit and courage, are putting teams under pressure and are scoring tries, which is encouraging, but we want to go one better this Saturday against Ireland, last year’s champions.

“Both ourselves and Ireland are hugely motivated for this game.

“Make no mistake, they are coming to Edinburgh believing they can win the title, while we will be going out there desperate to throw everything at our last Championship match to win the game and repay the support of our fans.”

Team (15-1):

Stuart Hogg; Dougie Fife, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); David Denton, Blair Cowan, Adam Ashe; Jonny Gray, Jim Hamilton; Euan Murray, Ross Ford, Ryan Grant

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Alasdair Dickinson, Geoff Cross, Tim Swinson, Robert Harley, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Greig Tonks, Tim Visser