Scotland make six changes for French Test

Head Coach Gregor Townsend has made six changes to the starting Scotland side for this Sunday’s NatWest 6 Nations match against France at a sold-out BT Murrayfield Stadium (11 February, kick-off 3pm) – live on BBC.

The changes are split evenly between the backs and forwards with scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, wing Sean Maitland and centre Pete Horne promoted from the bench into the back-line, while lock Grant Gilchrist and back-row Ryan Wilson do likewise into the pack.

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

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend, said: “As a group we’re delighted to be playing at home in front of another sell-out crowd at BT Murrayfield 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.

“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.”

Laidlaw is reunited with stand-off Finn Russell at half-back, with this Sunday’s Test the scrum-half’s first Scotland start since being injured in the corresponding fixture last year in Paris, with British & Irish Lions selection and subsequent injuries keeping the former captain out of contention until last weekend’s return as a replacement in Cardiff.

Maitland comes in for injured Sale Sharks wing McGuigan (hamstring) to join Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in the back-three, while Horne is deployed in midfield in place of Chris Harris (who joins the bench), with Huw Jones returning to the outside-centre role he has occupied in his previous 11 Tests for Scotland.

The remaining changes see Gilchrist and Wilson start in place of Ben Toolis (who moves to the bench) and Cornell du Preez, who drops out of the match-day 23.

Jonny Gray, Hamish Watson and captain John Barclay are reselected to complete the back-five of the scrum, while Stuart McInally and Gordon Reid return to join Berghan in the front-row.

Worcester Warriors back-row David Denton and in-form and uncapped outside back Blair Kinghorn take the places vacated by Wilson and Maitland on the bench.

Scotland team to play France at BT Murrayfield Stadium NatWest 6 Nations
Round 2: Sunday 11 February (kick-off 3pm) - live on BBC

15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 56 caps

14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 40 caps
13 Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
12. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 30 caps

10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 33 caps
9. Greig Laidlaw VICE CAPTAIN (ASM Clermont Auvergne) – 59 caps

1. Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 28 caps
2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 13 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps
4. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 19 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 39 caps
6. John Barclay CAPTAIN (Scarlets) – 67 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 16 caps
8. Ryan Wilson VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 33 caps

Substitutes
16. Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) – 47 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
18. Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons) – 12 caps
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps
20. David Denton (Worcester Warriors) – 35 caps
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
22. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 2 caps
23. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped

Currently unavailable through injury: Alex Dunbar (thigh strain), Richie Gray (calf), Duncan Taylor (head).