Scotland make 14 changes for France rematch
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: 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 Stadium.
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 stand-off 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-ack partnership of Greig’s uncle Roy Laidlaw and stand-off John Rutherford.
At the opposite end of the international experience spectrum is Scarlets No.8 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.
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.
BREAKING | Full-back Stuart Hogg is the only player reselected in Scotland’s starting side as several experienced campaigners return for Saturday’s rematch against France at @BTMurrayfield (kick-off 1.10pm) – live on Premier Sports 📺 pic.twitter.com/wIjD8DY01S
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) August 21, 2019
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.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 John Barclay, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Blair Kinghorn.
Date: Saturday, August 24
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 13.10 (14.10 France time; 12.10 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)