Greig Laidlaw one of six Scotland changes for France clash

Greig Laidlaw one of six Scotland changes for France clash

Ronald Pratt
February 12, 2018

Both Scotland and France hope to register their first wins of this year's Six Nations at Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon.

One of those returning to the side is Greig Laidlaw, in place of Ali Price, who struggled throughout in Cardiff.

Townsend has recalled former skipper Greig Laidlaw as well as centre Peter Horne, wing Sean Maitland, prop Simon Berghan, lock Grant Gilchrist and number eight Ryan Wilson.

The alarmingly passive and inaccurate nature of the Scotland performance at the Principality Stadium has caused some to reassess their view of the team's recent progress and their credentials as genuine Six Nations contenders.

France's changes have been forced following injuries suffered in their defeat by Ireland.

"There were aspects of our game that weren't working in the first half but we corrected those".

France, meanwhile, had their hearts broken owing to a 83rd-minute Johnny Sexton drop-goal at Stade de France last week. It was apt that Russell and Hogg were involved, representing so neatly as they do, the problems with this Scotland team, rich to obscene in attacking gifts but maddeningly flaky, their concentration levels unreliable, as if the boring stuff is a tedium for others to trouble themselves with. So who can bounce back better in Edinburgh?

The Murrayfield factor could be key.

"France will be very physical and their defence is very good", he said.

Fly-half - The No 10 in any team is crucial, but this game throws up an interesting match-up. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) 9.

"He ran a couple of plays there this morning".

Laidlaw, who was replaced as captain permanently at the start of the year by John Barclay after almost seven years at the helm, will win his 60th cap for his country and will attempt to get a re-jigged back line firing on all cylinders after failing to live up to their attacking reputation on the opening weekend. We've got France immediately after it and we are desperate to get another opportunity. "So we're approaching it as we'd normally approach playing France: they're a very good team".

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Another kick through the sticks from the 32-year-old sealed the win late on.

This week Jacques Brunel lifted the lid on his selection decisions.

The challenge now for Barclay and his team-mates will not be any easier as they look to bounce back against the French. Against Wales, they spread the ball wide and tried intricate moves, but they couldn't make much ground because they didn't have the power players to make busts through the middle. Huw Jones broke the line before going over.

France, too, aren't exactly blessed in this department.

"We're always under tremendous pressure and after two defeats in a row the game against Italy will be more than welcome to bounce back".

"You have to be tough to beat and we weren't at the weekend".

Hooker and captain Guilhem Guirado will lead an unchanged front five. The pressure started to toll on France and their errors mounted up. In the end it had little impact on the result in Cardiff, but France will no doubt be coming to Murrayfield to target the Scottish set-piece and use their physicality to overpower them at scrum time.

"The forwards had a massive game".

Replacements: Adrien Pélissié, Eddy Ben Arous, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Louis Picamoles, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Belleau, Benjamin Fall.

"We will try to take it one game at a time".

The game is live on BBC1 with coverage starting at 2.30pm.