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
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,"
"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.
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