Darge set for first start when Scots face France

Rory Darge
Starting: Rory Darge (pic: SNS Group)

Rory Darge is set to make his first start for Scotland in this weekend’s Six Nations clash with France at Murrayfield.

The Glasgow Warriors flanker made his international debut against Wales in Cardiff earlier this month and is named alongside Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury in a new-look starting back-row.

Bradbury has been involved in the two previous Six Nations matches but will start his first game for Scotland since 2020 on Saturday.

Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Skinner replaces his injured club team-mate Jonny Gray in the second row and will partner Edinburgh Rugby’s Grant Gilchrist, who won his 50th cap in Cardiff.

Edinburgh Rugby duo Pierre Schoeman and Stuart McInally retain their front row berths from the Wales loss with Glasgow’s Zander Fagerson returning to the starting line-up.

Head coach Gregor Townsend said: “For us, Rory brings a lot either side of the ball. Defensively he’s one of our best tacklers. And if you look at his performances and stats he breaks more tackles than most back-rowers playing just now.”

Acknowledging that Saturday’s opponents are currently among the best in world rugby, Townsend added: “They are one of the top two or three teams in the world right now; a huge pack, momentum behind them, results behind them, so it’s a great challenge for us.”

Scotland kicked off their championship with a famous win over England in Edinburgh only to see that good work undone in Cardiff.

The French, meanwhile, will travel in confidence after home wins over Italy and Ireland, although they have not won at Murrayfield since 2014.

“We believe in our group, so we have to put everything into this at the weekend and deliver what we’re capable of delivering,” said Townsend.

Scotland: Hogg, Graham, Harris, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe, Russell, Price; Schoeman, McInally, Z Fagerson, Skinner, Gilchrist, Darge, Watson, Bradbury. Replacements: Turner, Kebble, Nel, Hodgson, Haining, White, Kinghorn, Bennett.

France: Jaminet, Penaud, Fickou, Danty, Moefana, Ntamack, Dupont; Baille, Marchand, Atonio, Woki, Willemse, Cros, Jelonch, Alldritt. Replacements: Mauvaka, Gros, Bamba, Taofifenua, Flament, Cretin, Lucu, Ramos.

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