Scotland v France: Nick Haining, Grant Gilchrist and Fraser Brown return

Fraser Brown
Fraser Brown has been out of action for nearly a month and now faces another three on the sidelines as he recovers from a neck injury. Image: © Craig Watson-

SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to his starting XV ahead of Sunday’s Six Nations clash against France, with No 8 Nick Haining, second-row Grant Gilchrist and hooker Fraser Brown (who will be winning his 50th cap) getting the nod ahead of Magnus Bradbury (benched), Ben Toolis (dropped out the squad altogether) and Stuart McInally (benched).

There are three call-ups amongst the replacements. Sam Skinner is now fully back up to pace after recovering from the hamstring injury which ruled him out of the World Cup, Duncan Weir gets the nod to cover stand-off and is in line to make his first international appearance since March 2017 and Kyle Steyn will make his debut if he comes on to cover the wing or outside centre berths.

“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,” said Townsend.

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“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.

“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 (v France at Murrayfield, Sunday 3pm GMT): S Hogg; S Maitland, C Harris, S Johnson, B Kinghorn; A Hastings, A Price; R Sutherland, F Brown, Z Fagerson, S Cummings, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, N Haining. Subs: S McInally, A Dell, W Nel, S Skinner, M Bradbury, G Horne, D Weir, K Steyn.

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Can anyone with a bit of second row expertise explain why Toolis drops out? To me, he looks like our best line-out jumper, gets round the park really well, and the pack generally seems to function better when he’s on the field. Am I missing something?

    Hoping Harris backs up his Italy performance with another good one. And glad to see Duncy Weir back in the squad.

    • Price and Harris wouldn’t be in my back division but are a shoe in for every toony squad. We’re into the next world cup cycle and I’d give Horne and Hutchison a go.

    • Or even Scott at centre, he makes good ground for Edinburgh. Harris has no cutting edge but can tackle.

  2. Some players experience the toony tombola whilst some will never be dropped. That aside, c’mon the Scots, the French are due a wobble and hopefully it’s Sunday.

  3. Townsend again is making changes were there is no requirement 9 and 10 is were the change should be made.
    Scott is not even considered ???
    Kinghorns talents are wasted playing on wing ??
    This is a very difficult game ahead against France team selection is not convincing

  4. Kinghorn has been in pretty good nick for Edinburgh this season. Have to wonder why he looks out if sorts in the Scotland set up.

  5. Oh dear oh dear. So the pack have been doing really well and there are 3 changes. The backs have been poor and no changes… hmm no Hutchinson, I guess Scott is unavailable due to injury, no Horne at 9 and Kinghorn is definitely out of sorts and out of position on the wing. If (sadly, highly unlikely) we are in a winning position Weir can close out the game.

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