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Scots face tough task - Beattie

JOHNNIE BEATTIE insists Scotland will not have it easy at Twickenham despite England lining up without Manu Tuilagi.

The Samoan-born centre will miss Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash as the Six Nations gets underway in London.

That has left England head coach Stuart Lancaster to mull over handing Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees his international debut alongside Brad Barritt in midfield or opting for London Irish's Jonathan Joseph.

But No 8 Beattie says Lancaster will not be short on quality.

"Manu is obviously a very special individual. He's played very well for them in the past. But the problem with playing a nation like England is that they have huge strength in depth. One guy like Manu going out, well, they have two or three who can come straight in."

Montpellier star Beattie has not played for Scotland since 2011, and can't wait to work with new interim coach Scott Johnson and forwards coach Dean Ryan.

He added: "I haven't been in the national set-up for 18 months. For me, everything is pretty fresh. But I know everyone has been pretty excited about working under Dean and under Scott."

Twickenham host Ulster

Ulster will play Saracens at Twickenham in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on Saturday, April 6.

It will be Ulster's first taste of the home of English rugby since they were well beaten by Leinster in the Heineken final last May.

With strong interest expected in the tie, the record attendance for a UK Heineken Cup quarter-final of 37,881 set at Murrayfield last season, when Edinburgh Rugby defeated Toulouse, will be a target.

Ulster Rugby will take its full allocation of tickets for the match, which equates to 25pc of the stadium capacity, in what could well end up as a neutral fixture in reality.

French leave out Nyanga

Flanker Yannick Nyanga was dropped from the France squad to face Italy in their Six Nations opener in Rome on Sunday when manager Philippe Saint-Andre trimmed his group to 23 yesterday. Louis Picamoles, Thierry Dusautoir, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Damien Chouly were the loose forwards chosen.