GLASGOW, March 9 (Reuters) - Flanker Hamish Watson returns to the Scotland team in the only change for Saturday’s decisive Six Nations clash against England at Twickenham, coach Vern Cotter announced on Thursday.
Watson, who played in the opening two games of this year’s Championship, takes the place of the injured John Hardie, who he came on for in the first half of the last game against Wales a fortnight ago. Hardie has a knee injury.
Uncapped Edinburgh club colleague Cornell du Preez takes Watson’s place on the bench.
Scotland have won two of their first three Six Nations games for the first time since 2006, with their home victories over Ireland and Wales helping them to a highest-ever fifth place in the World Rugby rankings.
They are seeking a first win at Twickenham since 1983 and a first Triple Crown since 1990, while unbeaten England aim to equal New Zealand’s record of 18-straight Test wins.
“We have another two games to go in this Championship and this next one is obviously pretty important. There’s a lot to play for and several reasons why we should be able to get up for this game,” Cotter said at the team announcement.
”We’ve rested, recovered and prepared as best we can for this game. We’ve asked some questions of ourselves and the areas we think we can improve and we’re confident we can play better as a team. That’s our next challenge, to step that up.
”The challenge is for us to combine the best parts of our performances so far in this campaign in to one excellent performance at Twickenham this Saturday.
“We’ll need that to put us in a position to win this game and will enjoy the challenge of doing that against an England team that hasn’t lost in a while,” the coach added.
Team: 15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Tommy Seymour, 13-Huw Jones, 12-Alex Dunbar, 11-Tim Visser, 10-Finn Russell, 9-Ali Price, 1-Gordon Reid, 2-Fraser Brown, 3-Zander Fagerson, 4-Richie Gray, 5-Jonny Gray, 6-John Barclay (captain), 7-Hamish Watson, 8-Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: 16-Ross Ford, 17-Allan Dell, 18-Simon Berghan, 19-Tim Swinson, 20-Cornell du Preez, 21-Henry Pyrgos, 22-Duncan Weir, 23-Mark Bennett. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Gareth Jones)