Smith On Scotland Recall

Smith On Scotland Recall

Edinburgh prop Craig Smith admits he was pleasantly surprised with his recall into Scotland’s squad for the RBS 6 Nations match against England at Murrayfield on Saturday (8 March, kick off 3.15pm).The 29-year-old, who has won 23 caps for his country, made his first start in the black and red since November when he wore the number three shirt for draw against Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday night.And the long-serving front rower’s contribution prompted Smith to be named amongst the replacements for the Calcutta Cup clash; an aspect that put a smile on the 18 stone forward’s face.Smith said: I am pretty happy, a bit surprised, but very excited. The game against the Dragons was maybe a factor behind the call-up. It was a tough night for the whole team in diabolical weather and we had to hang on for the draw. But I got 80 minutes and that was the first time I’d done that, so that was a good feeling.After struggling to shake off a long-term calf injury, Smith revealed he feels extremely sharp ahead of the showdown with the Auld Enemy.He added: I was a bit tired after playing 80 minutes in hard conditions, but I can’t complain and I feel good.Scotland head coach Frank Hadden highlighted Smith’s strength as an impact substitute when explaining the reasoning behind the prop’s return.And although Smith acknowledges he can influence a game from coming off the bench, he feels he can also contribute over an 80-minute period.He said: I have been labelled as being an impact player, but as I proved on Friday night I can do 80 minutes as well.After playing in the previous meeting between the two nations in 2006, Smith understands the sheer importance of putting one over the team from ‘down south. He said: It is massive. Two years ago we won the Calcutta Cup, so we realise how important is to win the game and how big the occasion is.Meanwhile, Edinburgh scrum half Mike Blair has been chosen to continue as captain in a Scotland starting line-up that contains six men from The Castle.Simon Webster, who scored a try in the previous Test against Ireland, starts at outside centre while prop Allan Jacobsen, hooker Ross Ford and openside flanker Allister Hogg are all in the pack. Former Edinburgh back rower Simon Taylor has been picked to start at No8 while Ben Cairns and Ross Rennie narrowly missed out on selection.Scotland team (sponsor Murray) to play England in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at Murrayfield on Saturday 8 March, kick-off 3.15pm15 Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh)14 Rory Lamont (Sale Sharks)13 Simon Webster (Edinburgh)12 Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors)11 Nikki Walker (Ospreys)10 Chris Paterson (Gloucester)9 Mike Blair (Edinburgh) CAPTAIN1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh)2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh)3 Euan Murray (Northampton Saints)4 Nathan Hines (Perpignan)5 Scott MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets)6 Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester)8 Simon Taylor (Stade Francais)7 Allister Hogg (Edinburgh)Substitutes16 Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors)17 Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester)18 Craig Smith (Edinburgh)19 Jason White (Sale Sharks)20 Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors)21 Rory Lawson (Gloucester)22 Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors)

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