Rugby - Youth was only option - Strokosch

Scotland flanker Alasdair Strokosch believes temporary boss Scott Johnson had no choice but to put his faith in the country's next generation for the RBS 6 Nations opener with England.

PA Sport
Rugby - Youth was only option - Strokosch
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Scott Johnson has included five players with 10 caps or less for Saturday's clash with England

Interim head coach Johnson has named a starting XV for Saturday's Calcutta Cup fixture at Twickenham which includes five players with 10 caps or less. But Strokosch - an experienced campaigner with 30 Test displays under his belt who now plays his rugby in France with Perpignan - says Johnson had little alternative but to push his fresh-faced prospects into battle.

He said: "We don't have much option. We have not got a huge player base to choose from, so if you are going to change anything, you are going to have to bring in younger people."

New Zealand-born winger Sean Maitland is a world champion with the All Blacks at under-19 and under-20 level but is untested at on the full international stage after switching allegiances to the land of his Glasgow-born grandparents.

Centre Matt Scott, meanwhile, has racked up just seven appearances for the side, while Edinburgh's Dutch winger Tim Visser - another adopted Scot - has managed two fewer.

In spite of the inexperienced nature of the team, Strokosch is feeling optimistic about the campaign ahead.

Scotland were humiliated last year by five straight defeats and then had the ignominy of losing to Tonga amid another barren run of games during the autumn internationals, but, with Johnson taking over the reins following former head coach Andy Robinson's resignation, a new air of hopefulness has descended on the squad.

Strokosch said: "How's the mood in camp? Pretty positive really. We have got a lot of new energy from the coaching set-up, and a slightly different game-plan - nice and simple, so things are positive.

"A lot of the basic stuff has changed since Scott has come in and it's working.

"We are in a position where we can only come up - we can't really drop any lower. It kind of takes the pressure off because you've got nothing to lose."

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