From Stirling to the Stade: Sam and Nick ready for Paris battle

Kettle Collective

Back in the 2015/16 season Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg regularly linked up for Stirling County to good effect – fast forward four years and now the duo will get the chance to do the same with Scotland.

The centres arrived on these shores in the summer of 2015 from Australia and New Zealand respectively, Johnson as a full-time pro with Glasgow Warriors and Grigg as a Scottish Rugby Academy player attached with the Scotstoun club.

As they found their feet in the northern hemisphere they both often played for County in the top flight of club rugby in those first few months.

And they both worked hard to break into the Warriors’ squad and then the Scotland picture.

With Huw Jones out injured Grigg, whose grandfather has Scottish roots, comes into the national team’s starting XV this weekend to earn his seventh cap with the 26-year-old lining up outside 25-year-old Johnson.

The latter, who qualifies on residency grounds and has done well in his two caps to date, will be an important player on Saturday in round three of the Guinness Six Nations in the Stade de France against the hosts (kick-off 2.15pm GMT, live on BBC).

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend told Scottish Rugby TV:   “Cohesion is key at international level and we are fortunate that Nick and Sam know each other well and have also played together for the last three or four years starting at Stirling County.

“They also know stand-off Pete [Horne] well and that will be helpful out there when the game is underway and the crowd is loud.”

Townsend mentioned that Horne is in for Finn Russell (facial injury and concussion) while the fourth change in the starting XV from the one that played Ireland in round two is Magnus Bradbury in for Ryan Wilson at six.

The 23-year-old is just back from a shoulder injury, but Townsend stated:  “Magnus played very well for Edinburgh last weekend.

“We were waiting until he played a game. We had heard a lot from Edinburgh about how he had trained and his physical condition and that was shown in the game against the Dragons.

“Early on he made some big tackles, his kick chase was very good and he got some carries too, but even more pleasing was that he carried things on in the second half.

“It will be another step up for him to play France away this weekend, but physically we believe he is in the right place.”

On the bench Alex Allan, Zander Fagerson, Gary Graham, Adam Hastings and Darcy Graham earn spots and join Ben Toolis and Ali Price there.

 “Like France, we too are coming off the back of a defeat and want to show a better picture of ourselves and play closer to our potential,” the head coach added.

“The players invested a huge amount of effort against Ireland and this energy will be essential once again this weekend.”


15 Blair Kinghorn
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 Sean Maitland
10 Pete Horne (VC)
9 Greig Laidlaw (C)
1 Allan Dell
2 Stuart McInally (VC)
3 Simon Berghan
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Jonny Gray
6 Magnus Bradbury
7 Jamie Ritchie
8 Josh Strauss


16 Fraser Brown
17 Alex Allan
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Ben Toolis
20 Gary Graham
21 Ali Price
22 Adam Hastings
23 Darcy Graham

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the image of Nick Grigg

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