Six Nations: Scotland coach Scott Johnson on tighthead Euan Murray's recall
Scotland coach Scott Johnson insists Euan Murray has earned his recall after standing aside due to religious beliefs.
Last Updated: 05/03/13 4:07pm
The 32-year-old front rower announced in 2009 that he would no longer turn out for his club or country on a Sunday for reasons of conscience.
The Worcester tighthead, who is rated among the strongest scrummagers in European rugby, missed the RBS Six Nations victory against Ireland at Murrayfield last time out.
His absence meant that his number three jersey was handed to Geoff Cross and although the Edinburgh man put in a strong display, it was not enough to keep his place.
Johnson has confirmed he has chosen to restore Murray to his starting XV for this Saturday's fixture against Wales at Murrayfield because his form in the 34-10 success against Italy merits another opportunity.
The Australian coach said: "Euan coming back was a difficult decision for us in the fact that Geoff played so well.
"But Euan is a quality player and the previous (game against Italy) he was exceptional for us. However, that's great for Scotland as it now shows we have got competition for spaces that we probably didn't think we had.
"This gives Euan the first right of reply. We are expecting him to stand up."
Johnson also believes the introduction of Scotland A skipper Ryan Wilson as replacement number eight for the injured David Denton has been well deserved. "We are pleased with Ryan's progress," he said.
"This is his reward for good regional form. That's what we want to stand for. We want to reward good performances each and every week.
"I think he fits into that category. He's been there or thereabouts in the squad. The form of the two in front of him we have been quite happy with, so he's had to bide his time. But it's an opportunity for him. Now he's got to transform the form from regional rugby into Test match rugby.
"We think he is one for the future, but unfortunately for him, the future starts on Saturday."