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6 Nations

Scotland name squad to face England in opener.

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has selected his team to face England in the opening round of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, in the 150th anniversary year of the first ever international match which was played between the two sides.

To mark the occasion each Scotland player in the starting XV will have the corresponding name from the 1871 team embroidered onto their shirt to connect with the side which faced England at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh 1871.

Full-back Stuart Hogg will lead the side in the 2021 Calcutta Cup fixture, as Scotland welcome back fly-half Finn Russell into the team after the Racing 92 player missed the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup through injury.

Russell will have Bath centre Cameron Redpath outside him at Twickenham, with the 21-year-old making his debut for Scotland on Saturday.

Among the five changes to the starting line-up from the final 2020 Guinness Six Nations match against Wales in Llanelli in October a new pair of wings will feature as Sean Maitland and Duhan van der Merwe both start.

In the pack Matt Fagerson is selected at number eight and George Turner starts at hooker to make his Six Nations competition debut.

Experienced scrum-half Ali Price will partner Russell in the half-backs, with Chris Harris alongside Redpath in the centres.

Up front Rory Sutherland and Zander Fagerson will pack down with hooker Turner in the front-row.

Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray continue their second-row partnership, with Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie completing the pack.

Edinburgh hooker David Cherry will make his Scotland debut if called up from the replacements. WP Nel and Oli Kebble are the other front-row cover, alongside fellow forwards Richie Gray and Gary Graham. Scott Steele, Jaco van der Walt and Huw Jones complete the matchday 23.

“This most historic of fixtures against England is a great start to the 2021 Guinness Six Nations and a challenge we will fully embrace with the objective of playing to our potential and ultimately lifting our supporters in these difficult times.

Head Coach Gregor Townsend

“We learned a lot about ourselves and where the game is going during our Autumn campaign, and we aim to build on this base during the next seven weeks. We are set for a huge challenge against England as we will be facing one of the best teams in the world.

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new player into our squad and we are looking forward to Cam Redpath winning his first cap on Saturday. We have been really impressed with Cam’s contributions in the time he has been with us in camp. There are a number of experienced players in the backline to help make his transition to Test rugby go as smoothly as possible, and he has the mindset and skillset to thrive at this level.

“The opportunity of competing for the Calcutta Cup against our oldest rivals is something to get Scots around the world excited about.”

6 Nations

Cian Healy signs short term extension

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Ireland and Leinster loosehead prop Cian Healy has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

Cian is Ireland’s most capped prop forward having lined out for Ireland on 107 occasions to date. He made his Ireland debut against Australia in November 2009 and was selected for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia making two appearances before injury ended his involvement.

Cian has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and represented Leinster on 226 occasions winning four Heineken Cup titles during his career in blue.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Cian has been a cornerstone of both the Irish and Leinster packs for over a decade.  He has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injury and perform at the highest level.  Cian has a lot to contribute to Irish Rugby and we are delighted that he has signed on for another year.”

Cian Healy, commented,

“My drive for success at both Leinster and Ireland is as strong as ever.  I am lucky enough to currently be part to two teams with the same mentality which is special and I look forward to another season of pushing boundaries and achieving our goals.

I’m loving my rugby as much now as I did at the very start of my career and looking forward to having our supporters back in stadia.”

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6 Nations

O’Mahony Signs Contract Extension with IRFU

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Ireland and Munster backrow Peter O’Mahony has signed a two year extension to his IRFU contract keeping him at Munster until 2023.

Peter made his Ireland debut in the Six Nations against Italy in 2012 and has gone on to win 74 caps and captain his country on eight occasions.  A Lions tourist in 2017, Peter captained the Lions in the opening Test of the series against New Zealand.

Peter has represented Munster on 141 occasions becoming captain of his province in 2013 at the age of 24.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Peter has played a leadership role in Munster from an early age and is one of the senior leaders in the national squad.  He is a competitor and passionate about playing for both Ireland and Munster.”

Peter O’Mahony, commented,

“It’s a huge privilege to sign on with the province and country I’ve grown up in and dreamed of playing for. It’s been something I’ve been very open about saying from day one and its very pleasing to be able to continue the journey for two more years.

There’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with representing both teams and I understand how much pressure there is to deliver silverware, however, I am incredibly enthusiastic on the position and competitiveness of both Munster and Ireland and I look forward to hopefully contributing to both, to succeed in delivering that success on the pitch.”

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6 Nations

Sexton extends contract

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Ireland and Leinster out-half Johnny Sexton has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

The 2018 World Player of the Year took on the Ireland captaincy in January 2020 and is one of Irish rugby’s most decorated players.

He has been central to both Ireland and Leinster’s success for over a decade following his international debut against Fiji in November 2009.

A two time Lions tourist in 2013 and 2017, Johnny has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and four European Cups with Leinster.  He has represented his provinces on 171 occasions scoring 1505 points.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Johnny continues to show he has the quality and appetite to compete at the highest levels.  He is playing an important leadership role with the Ireland squad and his insight and experience continues to be of great value to the group.”

Johnny Sexton, commented,

“I am really enjoying my rugby and I want to keep learning and adding value to both the Ireland and Leinster environments.   I am enjoying the challenge of captaincy and the added responsibility that it brings.  My appetite for success is the same as it ever was and the ambitions of both the Ireland and Leinster squads match my own.”

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