Gilchrist and Haining return for French test

Gilchrist and Haining return for French test

Edinburgh forward pairing Grant Gilchrist and Nick Haining both return to Scotland's starting XV for Sunday's Guinness Six Nation test against France at BT Murrayfield (8 March, kick-off 3pm) – live on BBC.

The returning duo are two of three changes to the forward pack as hooker Fraser Brown - who earns his 50th Scotland cap - replaces club captain Stuart McInally in the front-row.

Edinburgh are once again well represented in the pack as loosehead Rory Sutherland keeps his spot up front, while back-row pairing Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson continue at blindside and openside flanker respectively.

Blair Kinghorn is once again named on the wing, with the aforementioned McInally, tighthead prop WP Nel and back-row Magnus Bradbury all selected on the bench.

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “This week we face a France team that looks galvanised since the World Cup, with a potential Grand Slam in their sights following impressive wins over England, Italy and Wales.

“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 this weekend.”

The squad selection sees Exeter Chiefs lock Sam Skinner return from injury to join the squad on the bench for the first time this campaign with Bradbury dropping to a place on the bench.

The bench also features the return of 27-times capped Worcester Warriors and former Edinburgh Rugby stand-off Duncan Weir, who could make his first Scotland appearance since the 2017 championship, while Glasgow Warriors’ Kyle Steyn would make his debut if called upon from the bench.

The remainder of the pack is unchanged once again, with props Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) and Sutherland, Glasgow lock Scott Cummings and Edinburgh back-row forwards Ritchie and Watson five of the 11 players to start their fourth consecutive Test this campaign.

Scotland team to play France at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Six Nations

Sunday 8 March (kick-off 3pm) – live on BBC

15. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) - 75 caps

14. Sean Maitland (Saracens) - 47 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) - 17 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) - 12 caps
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) - 20 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) - 19 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) - 31 caps

1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) - 6 caps
2. Fraser Brown VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) - 49 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) - 28 caps
4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) - 11 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) - 41 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) - 17 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) - 31 caps
8. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) - 2 caps

16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) - 36 caps
17. Allan Dell (London Irish) - 31 caps
18. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) - 37 caps
19. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) - 6 caps
20. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) - 13 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) - 12 caps
22. Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors) - 27 caps
23. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) - uncapped

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