Rugby

Scotland make mass changes for France rematch

2019-08-21 13:25
Stuart Hogg (Getty)

Cape Town - Fullback Stuart Hogg is the only player to be reselected in the starting Scotland side as several experienced campaigners return for this Saturday’s Test rematch against France at Murrayfield.

Scotland’s biggest stadium is poised for its 15th consecutive capacity crowd before which the national team aims to bounce back from their 32-3 defeat at the hands of Les Bleus in Nice last weekend.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Our first outing of the season was a disappointment and not reflective of the hard work our players have put in over the past two months.

“France are a very dangerous side if you give them space and quick ball to play, which is what we allowed to happen on too many occasions last week. Our focus all week has been to remedy this and also create much more from our attacking game.

“It was a stark reminder of how tough things can be at international level if our standards slip. We expect our players to show a much truer picture of themselves this Saturday.”

Scotland’s starting back division is bookended by familiar partnerships and British & Irish Lions, as Hogg is joined by Saracens and Glasgow Warriors wings Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour for their 19th Test start as a trio.

Continuing the thread of familiarity are Racing 92 flyhalf Finn Russell and Clermont Auvergne scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw, who captains the side.

The pair will equal the starting partnership appearances of fellow Scottish Lions Gary Armstrong and Craig Chalmers (32) and will then be three starts short of equalling the record-holding half-back partnership of Greig’s uncle Roy Laidlaw and flyhalf John Rutherford.

At the opposite end of the international experience spectrum is Scarlets number eight Blade Thomson, who will make his long-awaited Test debut in a back-row featuring Edinburgh’s Hamish Watson and Glasgow Warriors’ Ryan Wilson for the first time this campaign.

Fellow Warrior Scott Cummings is promoted from the bench position from which he debuted last weekend, alongside Exeter Chiefs lock Sam Skinner, and behind a new front-row trio of Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls), Willem Nel (Edinburgh) and hooker George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), who starts his second Scotland Test.

The side is completed by a new starting midfield partnership of Glasgow Warriors’ 41-times capped Pete Horne and Gloucester’s Chris Harris, while Glasgow Warriors hooker Grant Stewart could make his debut if called upon from the bench.

Teams:

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Willem Nel, 2 George Turner, 1 Gordon Reid

Substitutes: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 John Barclay, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Blair Kinghorn

France

15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Charles Ollivon, 7 Gregory Alldritt, 6 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sebastian Vahaamahina, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Yacouba Camara, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Maxime Médard

Read more on:    france  |  scotland  |  rwc 2019  |  stuart hogg  |  rugby

 

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