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Scotland Six Nations team news: Stuart Hogg to earn 100th cap vs Ireland; Jonny Gray, Jack Dempsey start

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend makes two changes to starting XV to take on Ireland at Murrayfield in Six Nations Round 4; Lock forward Jonny Gray, back-row Jack Dempsey come in to start, with Grant Gilchrist suspended and Hamish Watson dropped to bench; Stuart Hogg in for 100th cap

Stuart Hogg returns to the squad
Image: Stuart Hogg will earn his 100th Test cap for Scotland on Sunday vs Ireland in the Six Nations

Stuart Hogg will earn his 100th Scotland cap on Sunday vs Ireland in the Six Nations, as Gregor Townsend starts Jonny Gray and Jack Dempsey.

Gray replaces the suspended Grant Gilchrist in the second row, after the latter's Round 3 red card away to France, while Dempsey comes into a reshuffled back row.

Indeed, Dempsey starts at No 8 as Hamish Watson drops to the bench, Matt Fagerson switches from No 8 to blindside, and skipper Jamie Richie moves from blindside flanker to openside.

Gray's appearance in the second row will see the 28-year-old enter Scotland's top 10 most capped players in featuring in his 76th Test.

Wales v Scotland - Guinness Six Nations - Principality Stadium
Scotland's Jonny Gray during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Picture date: Saturday February 12, 2022.
Image: Jonny Gray returns to start in the second row for Scotland

Elsewhere, head coach Townsend sticks with a largely settled side as Scotland seek to remain in the Six Nations title hunt and clinch a first Triple Crown since 1990.

Full-back Hogg, and impactful wings Kyle Steyn and Duhan van der Merwe form the back three, with Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu again named in the centres.

Half-backs Finn Russell and Ben White will look to cause Ireland problems, while the front row of the forwards is unchanged: Pierre Schoeman at loosehead, George Turner at hooker, Zander Fagerson at tighthead, while Richie Gray partners his brother in the second row.

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Scotland v New Zealand - Autumn International - BT Murrayfield Stadium
Scotland�s Jack Dempsey is tackled by New Zealand�s Dalton Papalii (7) during the Autumn International match at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Picture date: Sunday November 13, 2022.
Image: Back-row Jack Dempsey - a former Australia international - starts for the first time in the Six Nations

On the replacements bench, tighthead Simon Berghan is brought in over the experience of WP Nel, while second-row Scott Cummings is named a Six Nations squad for the first time this year.

Hooker Fraser Brown, loosehead Jamie Bhatti, scrum-half Ali Price, utility back Blair Kinghorn and centre Chris Harris complete the squad.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White; 1 Pierre Schoeman, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Richie Gray, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Matt Fagerson, 7 Jamie Ritchie (c), 8 Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Chris Harris.

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