Scotland change four for France
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Scotland have made four changes to the starting side to face France in this Saturday’s third round Six Nations Test in Paris.
Magnus Bradbury is the only change to the pack, the back row slots in the place of the injured Ryan Wilson (knee).
The three remaining changes come in the back division, where Glasgow Warriors playmaker Pete Horne – man-of-the-match winning form in the PRO14 last weekend – starts at stand-off in place of Finn Russell, who has a head injury.
Blair Kinghorn replaces the injured Stuart Hogg (shoulder) to earn his third Test start in the fullback role he occupies week in, week out for Edinburgh, while Glasgow Warriors centre Nick Grigg comes into the midfield for injured clubmate Huw Jones (knee).
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “Injuries create opportunities for others to show what they can do and, throughout the past couple of seasons, we’ve seen a number of players really step up.
“All of the players coming in started against Argentina in the summer, which ranks as one of our best ever away performances.
“On top of that there is cohesion forged through familiarity at club level – Magnus [Bradbury] in the back-row lines up with clubmate Jamie Ritchie, and Pete Horne and Nick Grigg are either side of Sam Johnson in the backs.”
BREAKING | Scotland make four changes to face France in this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations Test in Paris.
🔄 Pete Horne for Finn Russell
🔄 Magnus Bradbury for Ryan Wilson
🔄 Nick Grigg for Huw Jones
🔄 Blair Kinghorn for Stuart Hogg
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 21, 2019
Both Scotland and France go into this Saturday’s Test looking to bounce back from round two defeats against Ireland and England respectively.
Home advantage has been a defining feature of the nations’ last four meetings, with Scotland winning at BT Murrayfield in the 2016 and 2018 editions of the tournament, while the Scot’s last victory on French soil came en route to the Five Nations title in 1999.
Townsend, stand-off that day in ’99, is well aware of the potency of the French on home soil.
He added: “At home, France have played really well in the past two Championships. They were 16-0 up at half-time against Wales, and their previous Six Nations games before included a win over England and a last minute defeat to the eventual Irish team that went on to win the Grand Slam.
“They are a very dangerous opponent, combining power, ambition and skill. Their individual talent is outstanding and, when they get things right – which has predominantly been in the Six Nations at home – they’ve played with a real collective spirit and fed off the emotion of the crowd.
“They will certainly be fired up following their loss at Twickenham.”
Reflecting on Scotland’s ambitions he added: “Like France, we too are coming off the back of a defeat and want to show a better picture of ourselves and play closer to our potential.
“The players invested a huge amount of effort against Ireland and this energy will be essential once again this weekend.”
Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Pete Horne, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Allan Dell.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Ali Price, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Darcy Graham
Date: Saturday, February 23
Venue: Stade de France, France
Kick-off: 15.15 (14.15 GMT, 14.15 UK time)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)