April 17 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Scotland skipper Kelly Brown has been dropped completely from the the Dark Blues squad to face England on Saturday, head coach Scott Johnson has announced.
The Saracens flanker was a disappointing performer as the Scots opened their RBS 6 Nations campaign with a heavy 28-6 loss to Ireland in Dublin last Sunday.
His place in the side has gone to Glasgow’s Chris Fusaro, while vice-captain Greig Laidlaw will now lead the side out against the Auld Enemy when they visit Murrayfield for the evening kick-off.
Brown’s omission is one of three changes to the starting XV following the Aviva Stadium loss, with centre Matt Scott replacing Saracens centre Duncan Taylor (benched) and Glasgow wing Tommy Seymour coming in for injured club-mate Sean Maitland, who has been ruled out the rest of the Championships with knee and ankle injuries.
On the bench, Glasgow’s Jonny Gray replaces his British and Irish Lion brother Richie - who like Brown does not make the matchday squad at all - while experienced hooker Scott Lawson has been given the nod over Pat MacArthur.
Johnson said it had been a “difficult” decision to omit Brown but that Fusaro’s skills as a ball-winner on the deck had been key in the selectors’ deliberations.
“Fusaro is picked to do a certain role and we believe there’s an opportunity for him to do it,” said the Australian.
“England are powerful, they have an edge to their side and are assertive and aggressive. They will probably consider themselves unlucky last weekend but it’s not always brute force that wins these games.”
Johnson said that Taylor’s form made it a tough decision for him to begin on the bench rather than the starting XV but the Saracens’ man’s ability to cover a number of positions in the backline had been a factor, especially in the aftermath to the injury to Maitland.
Saracens host London Irish in the Premiership on Saturday.