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John Barclay returns to Scotland XV

John Barclay will make his first Six Nations appearance in four years on Saturday after being named in Scotland team to take on England at Murrayfield.

The Scarlets flanker is one of just two new faces in the starting XV  that took to the field to face Australia in the World Cup quarter-final.

Barclay, who has been overlooked for the past two years despite impressive displays in the Pro12, gets the nod ahead of Blair Cowan while Matt Scott comes in midfield for the injured Peter Horne.

Scott will partner Mark Bennett in the centres between a back-three made of Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour.

Finn Russell and captain Greig Laidlaw will run the show from half-backs while Barclay is in the back row alongside John Hardie and David Denton.

Brothers Jonny and Richie Gray will start their tenth Test match together in the engine room, packing down behind the all-Edinburgh front-row of Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and Willem Nel.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter said: “There’s a huge amount of excitement and determination among the group to start well, and do well, in this Championship, and show that they have learned from past experiences and developed their game.

“Playing in front of a sold-out Murrayfield is hugely motivating for the players, who are all very proud to wear the jersey as we know. They like working hard for each other in the no-excuse environment that exists in the squad.

“England will look to build their game from set-phase dominance, while we expect them to have developed their attacking play into the wider channels, which can create challenges as well as opportunities.

“We’re expecting them to be extremely motivated and physical, and we’re looking forward to that challenge.

“Continuity and accuracy will be key for us in this game.”

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