England Saxons v Scotland A – Eastmond in for England as younger Gray’s rise continues for Scotland

The England Saxons and Scotland A have both named their sides for the match at Netherdale on Friday night.

Scotland A go into the game looking for their third victory over the Saxons in a row, and with England coming off the back of a defeat to the Irish Wolfhounds, Scotland A might just feel that they are in with a good chance of doing just that.

Bath’s Kyle Eastmond drops down from the Engand Six Nations squad to start at inside centre, where he will partner Elliot Daly, who moves from full back to allow Sale Sharks’ Rob Miller a start.

Another full England cap to start is Freddie Burns at fly half, as he continues to try to play himself back into England contention, his Gloucester club mate Dan Robson partners him at scrum half.

First starts are handed out to Semesa Rokoduguni and Adam Thompstone on the wings, while at number eight Sam Dickinson makes his first start after impressing off the bench last week.

Callum Clark again captains the side and is joined in the back row by Luke Wallace once more, while in the second row Elliott Stooke and George Kruis pair up.

In the front row Alex Waller, Dave Ward, and Scott Wilson all pair up, while on the bench the possible introduction of Henry Slade in the backs will excite the fans.

For Scotland the major news comes in the forwards, where the outstanding rise of young Jonny Gray continues. The brother of senior star Richie, Jonny was captaining the U20s in last year’s Six Nations, and having made his senior debut in the autumn, he now captains the A team on Friday, an extraordinary achievement.

The other major news is the return to the international scene of Newcastle Falcons number 8, Ally Hogg. Hogg has been in international exile for a number of years but with his form proving so good for the Falcons he has finally forced his way back in.

He teams up with another capped international in the shape of Rob Harley at six, while London Irish’s Blair Cowan completes the back row.

Another London Irishman, Kieran Low, partners Jonny Gray in the second row, while the front row is an all Glasgow Warriors affair, with Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, and Jon Welsh all teaming up.

In the backs Henry Pyrgos gets a chance to prove that he should be in the senior set up with a start at nine, while Edniburgh’s Greig Tonks starts at ten.

Worcester’s Alex Grove starts in the centre with Mark Bennett outside him, and Bryon McGuigan and Dougie Fife pair up on the wings. Meanwhile at full back the former Bath Academy man, Jack Cuthbert, gets a run.

His former academy teammate Tom Heathcote is on the bench, while intriguingly former Sale number 8 Richie Vernon is named among the backs substitutes, such is his versatility and pace.

What do you think of the two teams? Do you see any players who could force their way into the reckoning for the remainder of the senior Six Nations campaign? Let us know via the comments box below or via @FifteenRugbyXV

Kick off 19.30 – Live on www.rfu.com

Scotland A:

15. Jack Cuthbert (Edinburgh)  14. Dougie Fife (Edinburgh)  13. Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors)  12. Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors)  11. Byron McGuigan (Glasgow Warriors)  10. Greig Tonks (Edinburgh)  9. Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors);  1. Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors)  2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)  3. Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors)  4. Kieran Low (London Irish)  5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors, captain)  6. Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors)  7. Blair Cowan (London Irish)  8. Alistair Hogg (Newcastle Flacons).

Replacements: 16. Kevin Bryce (Glasgow Warriors)  17. Alex Allan (Edinburgh)  18. Ed Kalman (Glasgow Warriors)  19. Olly Atkins (Edinburgh)  20. Tyrone Holmes (Glasgow Warriors)  21. Grayson Hart (Edinburgh)  22. Tom Heathcote (Bath)  23. Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors).

England Saxons:

15. Rob Miller (Sale Sharks)  14. Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)  13. Elliot Daly (London Wasps)  12. Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)  11. Adam Thompstone (Leicester Tigers)  10. Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)  9. Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby);  1. Alex Waller (Northampton Saints)  2. Dave Ward (Harlequins)  3. Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)  4. Elliott Stooke (Gloucester Rugby)  5. George Kruis (Saracens)  6. Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, captain)  7. Luke Wallace (Harlequins)  8. Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints).

Replacements: 16. Jamie George (Saracens)  17. Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)  18. Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)  19. Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)  20. Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)  21. Joe Simpson (London Wasps)  22. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)  23. Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby).

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