Brown to hit half century against France
Scotland hooker Fraser Brown will mark a half-century of Test caps for his country as one of three changes to face France this Sunday at BT Murrayfield Stadium (8 March, kick-off 3pm) – live on BBC.
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 moving to the bench.
Edinburgh pair Grant Gilchrist (second-row) and Nick Haining (number 8) 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 taking a place among the replacements.
The remainder of the pack is unchanged once again, with props Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) and Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), Glasgow lock Scott Cummings and Edinburgh back-row forwards Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson five of the 11 players to start their fourth consecutive Test this campaign.
An unchanged back division sees try-scorers against Italy – centre Chris Harris (Gloucester), stand-off Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) and full-back Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – return to reform their respective partnerships with Sam Johnson in midfield, Ali Price at scrum-half, and Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) and Sean Maitland (Saracens) in the back-three.
Scotland face the unbeaten Frenchmen at BT Murrayfield this Sunday in the sides’ penultimate match of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
Wins over England, Italy and Wales has talk of a Grand Slam emerging among the ‘Auld Alliance’, an achievement which would stand as a dramatic turnaround from last season’s fourth-placed finish.
Scotland are the next hurdle on that journey, with the hosts proving a tough opponent for traveling Frenchmen in recent years, winning the last three meetings in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
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." Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend
He added: “Coming back to BT Murrayfield is always a very special feeling and the energy generated from the Scotland supporters means a great deal to everyone associated with the squad.
"Our players are looking forward to revelling in that atmosphere on Sunday."
Scotland team to play France at BT Murrayfield Stadium
15. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) - 75 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) - 6 caps
2. Fraser Brown VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) - 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