/ Six Nations 2015

Scott Johnson holds back on Scotland selection

Updated: Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 14:29 | Comments

Scott Johnson will take charge of Scotland for the final time this weekend
Scott Johnson will take charge of Scotland for the final time this weekend

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson has named a 13-man squad of backs from which he will finalise selection for the final game of the Six Nations Championship against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Injuries sustained in last weekend's match against France have meant that Johnson will consider his options at training on Wednesday and Thursday before confirming the make-up of his back division and bench.

Meanwhile, among the forwards, the only change to the eight which started the 19-17 defeat to France on Saturday sees Ryan Wilson restored to the back-row in place of the injured Johnnie Beattie, with the experienced Alasdair Strokosch returning to provide cover on the bench.

Prop Alasdair Dickinson, who has recovered from the calf injury he sustained in Rome last month, also returns to the substitutes.

But Johnson will now have to pick seven men from Chris Cusiter, Jack Cuthbert, Alex Dunbar, Max Evans, Dougie Fife, Stuart Hogg, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Matt Scott, Greig Laidlaw, Duncan Taylor, Richie Vernon and Duncan Weir to start in Cardiff.

Johnson - who will take charge of the side for the final time this weekend before Vern Cotter takes over in the summer - is definitely without wing Sean Lamont, who injured a knee against Les Bleus, and Evans has fitness doubts of his own.

"We're obviously already without Sean Lamont in the backs after the knee problem he picked up against France,” said Johnson.

"We've also got some concerns about our wingers, Tommy Seymour and Max Evans and we're going to wait until tomorrow to see how they are."

Options then could see Cuthbert, the 26-year-old Edinburgh back, who won his only cap to date in the 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Ireland, return to the fray.

Cuthbert made a strong impression in the Scotland A draw with England Saxons at Scotstoun in January, as did his Edinburgh Rugby team-mate Fife. The 23-year-old is unbeaten in two games for Scotland A against the Auld Enemy's reserves and has scored 10 tries for the Gunners in 41 appearances.

There is also Jones, whose last cap was against Ireland two years ago, but has been revitalised after a loan spell with Glasgow Warriors.

Scotland - Backs from: Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Jack Cuthbert, Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres), Dougie Fife (Edinburgh Rugby), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)

Forwards: 1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), 2 Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), 3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby); 4 Richie Gray (Castres), 5 Jim Hamilton (Montpellier), 6 Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), 7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) (Capt), 8 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby).

Substitutes: 17 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), 17 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), 18 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), 19 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), 20 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan).

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