Six Nations

Scotland ring changes for clash against France

2018-02-08 14:25
Gregor Townsend (Getty Images)

Edinburg - Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend on Thursday announced six changes to his line-up for this weekend's Six Nations match against France as they seek to recover from a dispiriting opening defeat against Wales.

Townsend has brought in scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw, centre Peter Horne, wing Sean Maitland, prop Simon Berghan, lock Grant Gilchrist and No 8 Ryan Wilson for Sunday's clash at Murrayfield.

Tighthead prop Berghan is the only starting addition from outside last weekend's match-day 23, becoming available at the end of a six-week suspension.

Laidlaw is reunited with stand-off Finn Russell at halfback, with this Sunday's Test the scrumhalf's first Scotland start since being injured in the corresponding fixture last year in Paris.

"We've seen a response from the players in training this week and that needs to continue into and through the 80-plus minutes of the match because France will pose a massive and immensely physical challenge," said Townsend.

"As a group we're delighted to be playing at home in front of another sell-out crowd... and are looking forward to putting in a performance that can energise our supporters.

"To do that we need to out-work the opposition and be more accurate in a number of aspects of our play."

The Scots started their bid for a first-ever Six Nations title in the worst possible fashion in Cardiff last week, mustering only a Horne try and a Russell conversion in a chastening 34-7 defeat.

The optimism generated by their autumn campaign, which included a record win against Australia, vanished as rampant Wales ran in four tries and claimed a second-biggest victory since the countries' first meeting 135 years ago.

Ali Price, whose intercepted pass handed Gareth Davies the crucial opening score in Cardiff, makes way for Laidlaw. Price is joined on the bench by last week's starters Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis and Chris Harris. Cornell du Preez and the injured Byron McGuigan drop out of the 23.

France will also be desperate to win in Edinburgh after Ireland's Johnny Sexton conjured a last-gasp drop goal to give the visitors a dramatic 15-13 win in Paris last week.

Teams:

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Gordon Reid

Substitutes: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 David Denton, 21 Ali Price, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Blair Kinghorn

France

TBA

Read more on:    france  |  scotland  |  six nations  |  gregor townsend  |  rugby
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Fixtures
Friday, 23 February 2018
France v Italy, Stade Velodrome 22:00
Saturday, 24 February 2018
Ireland v Wales, Aviva Stadium 16:15
Scotland v England, Murrayfield 18:45
Saturday, 10 March 2018
Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium 16:15
France v England, Stade de France 18:45
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