Edinburgh flyer Kinghorn ready for first Scotland start

Luke Baker
07 March 2018

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Blair Kinghorn’s incredible Guinness PRO14 campaign will see him make his first international start when Scotland head to Dublin to face Ireland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Kinghorn emerged from the bench for his Scotland debut in the historic Calcutta Cup victory over England last month but with Tommy Seymour battling a back injury, he will start on the wing against table-topping Ireland.

The 21-year-old normally turns out at full-back for Edinburgh and has lit up the Guinness PRO14 this season – not only making the most metres of any player in the league with 1,088 but also beating the second-most defenders (48).

Throw in 16 offloads, 17 clean breaks, five try assists and four tries – against Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Southern Kings – and it’s easy to see why Scotland coach Gregor Townsend was desperate to give the youngster his maiden start.

The 6ft 5in powerhouse is an attacking menace every time he touches the ball and will form a scintillating back three alongside two-time Six Nations Player of the Championship Stuart Hogg, of Glasgow Warriors, and Saracens flyer Sean Maitland.

Kinghorn – who will need to use all his defensive solidity in the face of Ireland’s well-renowned kick chase – replacing Seymour is the only change made by Townsend and he wants to see more of the same in light of the England performance.

“We were delighted with the result against England and backing up our win against France with an improved performance,” said Townsend, who has selected a 23 that includes 19 current Guinness PRO14 players.

“The intent we showed in attack and defence in the first half was very encouraging and we continued to work hard in the second half. The effort that went into denying England a second try in the closing minutes was great to see.

“Our players had prepared very well for the challenge of taking on England and there has been a similar focus and commitment this week at training.

“There are a few areas of our game that we are working to improve and we are aware that we will have to be better if we are to beat a very good Ireland side in Dublin.”

Scotland team to face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday:
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 58 caps
14. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) – 1 cap
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps
12. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 31 caps
11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 32 caps
10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 35 caps
9. Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 61 caps
1. Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 30 caps
2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 15 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby) – 7 caps
4. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 21 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps
6. John Barclay CAPTAIN (Scarlets) – 69 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 18 caps
8. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 35 caps

. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
18. Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – 20 caps
19. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps
20. David Denton (Worcester Warriors) – 37 caps
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps
22. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
23. Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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