Guinness Six Nations Championship

Townsend makes three changes for visit of France

Start: Nick Haining (pic: SNS Group)

Hooker Fraser Brown will mark a half-century of Test caps for Scotland as one of three changes to face Grand Slam-chasing France on Sunday.

All three alterations come in the forward pack where Brown will become the 43rd Scotland player to reach the milestone – and only the fourth in his position – with Edinburgh’s Stuart McInally relegated to the bench for the Murrayfield clash.

Edinburgh pair Nick Haining (No. 8) and Grant Gilchrist (second row) complete the starting changes, with Exeter Chiefs lock Sam Skinner returning from injury to join the squad on the bench for the first time this campaign and Magnus Bradbury among the replacements.

“We face a France team that looks galvanised since the World Cup, with a potential Grand Slam in their sights,” said head coach Gregor Townsend, who has just one win in this season’s competition.

“We have a lot of respect for their coaching team and the quality of player they possess throughout their squad, many of them just in their early stages of their international careers. We’re going to have to deliver our best rugby of the championship in order to beat a team in such good form.

“France’s victories have been built on an aggressive and well-organised defence, so the precision, decision-making and effort in our attacking game will have to be very good in order to get in behind them.”

Scotland: Hogg (captain); Maitland, Harris, Johnson, Kinghorn; Hastings, Price; Sutherland, Brown, Z Fagerson; Cummings; Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, Haining.

Replacements: McInally, Dell, Nel, Skinner, Bradbury, G Horne, Weir, Steyn.

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