Scotland have made three changes to their pack, among which Kelly Brown is recalled as captain, for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship match against France at Murrayfield.
The other alterations see Geoff Cross rewarded for a sterling contribution off the bench in the 21-20 win against Italy, with the starting berth at tight-head and David Denton enlisted for the back-row in place of Ryan Wilson who has been laid low by a tonsillitis bug over the last few days. Brown starts instead of Chris Fusaro.
The back division is unchanged from that which started the game in Rome, while on the bench, Euan Murray, the 58-times capped prop, returns to the squad after missing the first three games of the Championship due to injury.
Scotland head coach Scott Johnson told www.scottishrugby.org: “I think Saturday is a game that will really suit Kelly. Unlike other sides in the competition, France play above the ground a bit and there will be a lot of mauling.
“I think the pitch suits Kelly too and I’ve picked a side that can win the game and that’s most important.
“The other back-row change is slightly enforced as Ryan Wilson has not been well at the start of this week with a tonsillitis bug and it was important we were not hampered in our training so Dents (David Denton) comes straight in.
“Geoff did really well when he came on against Italy and it’s right that he should start this week.”
Johnson reiterated his previous observation that he wants to increase the overall leadership group within the squad. “Great sides around the world have a multitude of leaders in their team,” he noted.
He also asserted little should be read into injury absentees from the likely French team. “Whatever side France put out will be a good one. They have proven over the years that they are a great rugby nation so whatever side comes to Edinburgh we know we’ll have to be at our best.”
Scotland team (sponsor RBS) to play France in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at Murrayfield on Saturday 8 March, kick-off 5pm
15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 18 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
14 Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
13 Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) 6 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) 19 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
11 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 85 caps, 12 tries, 60 points
10 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps, 1 try, 3 conversions, 1 drop-goal, 14 points
9 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) vice-cpt 27 caps, 3 tries, 23 conversions, 58 penalties, 235 points
1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) 16 caps
2 Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) 41 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby) 26 caps, 1 try, 5 points
4 Richie Gray (Castres) 35 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Jim Hamilton (Montpellier) 53 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) 29 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) captain 61 caps, 4 tries, 20 points
8 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 20 caps
16 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) 73 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
17 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) 33 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
18 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors) 58 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
19 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
20 Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps
21 Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors) 67 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
22 Duncan Taylor (Saracens) 9 caps
23 Max Evans (Castres) 40 caps, 3 tries, 15 points.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand). Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland) and JP Doyle (England). TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales).