Morrison desperate to make cut
Graeme Morrison will return to the Scotland team for Saturday's clash with Ireland determined to earn a place on the plane to New Zealand.
Last Updated: 02/08/11 3:35pm
Graeme Morrison will return to the Scotland team for Saturday's clash with Ireland determined to earn a place on the plane to the World Cup in New Zealand.
The 28-year-old Glasgow Warriors centre missed the final cut for the 2007 tournament and is desperate to be one of the 30 players named in head coach Andy Robinson's World Cup squad on August 22.
Morrison said: "He (Robinson) has 20-odd names (in mind), but he gives nothing away.
"He keeps his cards fairly close to his chest - you can't really read too much into it.
"I think it's quite a positive thing that I'll be playing in this game and I'll take it one step at a time. I'm desperate to go to a World Cup, given I missed out on the last one.
"It still hurts, but I've learnt a lot since then. I've become a far more mature player, I've got a lot more international experience and I think I'm in a far better place to go to the World Cup and do well than I was last time round.
"I'll get the opportunity to show what I can do on Saturday and hopefully it goes well."
Morrison's inclusion in the team for the first of two World Cup warm-up Tests resulted in Sean Lamont being switched to the wing and Simon Danielli dropping out of the matchday squad.
In the forwards, Ross Rennie will make his first Scotland start at openside flanker in a new-look back row, with Johnnie Beattie to start at number eight and Alasdair Strokosch at blindside flanker.
Jim Hamilton will start at lock alongside Richie Gray and with Alastair Kellock, Scotland's skipper during the Six Nations, named on the bench, Rory Lawson will captain the team.
Lawson was Scotland captain in last November's wins over South Africa and Samoa, when Kellock was out injured.
Robinson has chosen his World Cup captain, but is yet to reveal his leader.
The head coach said: "Al's not starting, so Rory, who is part of the leadership group, leads the team.
"I know who my captain will be (at the World Cup), but I've not informed the players yet."
Kellock was one of five players withdrawn from club service by Robinson in preparation for the World Cup.
Gray, Ross Ford and Allan Jacobsen have all been named in Saturday's team for their first competitive action since the Six Nations, but John Barclay has been left out of the matchday squad.
Barclay has been a proven performer for Scotland since making his debut in the 2007 World Cup, but his absence gives Rennie a chance to stake his claim.
The Edinburgh flanker, who is set to win his seventh cap, said: "It's really good for me to be given an opportunity - I've got to try and perform well and to perform for the team.
"I don't want to think about the World Cup too much now. I've got to focus on this weekend and try and get things right there. If I can do that, hopefully the rest will look after itself."