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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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