Jack Dempsey will make his first Six Nations start for Scotland after Gregor Townsend made two changes to his starting XV for the Murrayfield showdown with Ireland.
The Irish have also included their own Australian star Mack Hansen for Sunday’s clash as they continue their push for the grand slam against the second-placed Scots.
Dempsey made his Scotland debut in the autumn after a recent change in world rugby’s eligibility rules allowed the Glasgow Warriors player to switch allegiance from Australia after having earned 14 Wallabies caps.
The 28-year-old will wear the No.8 jersey, with Matt Fagerson moving to fill the flanker position vacated by Hamish Watson, who drops to the bench.
Lock Jonny Gray is the other change, coming in to replace the suspended Grant Gilchrist. He’ll play alongside his brother, Richie Gray.
There are no changes among the backs, meaning full-back Stuart Hogg will win his 100th cap.
Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong will make his first appearance of this year’s championship, while Jonathan Sexton is among the players returning to the team.
Furlong’s return to fitness following a calf injury is a timely boost for Ireland after his back-up, another Australian Finlay Bealham, sustained a tournament-ending knee injury in the 34-20 victory over Italy in Rome.
The British and Irish Lions tighthead Furlong has not played a competitive game since December 3.
Sexton was rested for the win over the Italians while nursing a groin issue and was expected to make his return. Centre Garry Ringrose also sat out the game because of a calf injury but was back in the team announced on Friday.
There were six changes in total, with hooker Dan Sheehan, flanker Peter O’Mahony and scrum-half Conor Murray restored to the starting XV.
Robbie Henshaw and Jamison Gibson-Park are in line for their first Test outings since the autumn after being named on the bench.
Ireland have claimed successive bonus-point wins over Wales, France and Italy so far and lead by five points from Scotland.
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Source by [earlynews24.com]