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Fagerson returns for Scotland as Townsend makes five changes

Fagerson returns for Scotland as Townsend makes five changes

Fagerson returns for Scotland as Townsend makes five changes

Gregor Townsend has made five changes to his Scotland team for the visit of France to BT Murrayfield this Saturday, with Matt Fagerson among those to return to the starting XV.

The two sides are locked on five points apiece ahead of the Round 2 clash, after Scotland’s 28-17 victory over Italy last time out, while France were awarded a 28-0 win over Fiji after their clash was cancelled.

It sets up a nail-biting affair in Edinburgh, with the winner of the tie likely to be topping the pile when the group stages come to a close next weekend.

Edinburgh wing Blair Kinghorn is reinstated among the backs as a replacement for Darcy Graham, as Scotland look to win six matches in a row for the first time in 30 years this weekend.

Kinghorn will partner captain Stuart Hogg and Duhan van der Merwe in the back three, while Sam Johnson and Chris Harris continue at centre.

Ali Price and Duncan Weir will also continue at half-back, while Fagerson returns to the starting XV at No.8 having recovered from an ankle injury sustained in a warm-up match with Georgia back in October, lining up alongside Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie.

Townsend has named a completely new front row of Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown and Simon Berghan for the visit of Fabien Galthie’s side, while Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray continue in the second row.

Townsend said: “France are full of confidence and have played really well this year.

“We know we’re playing one of the best teams in the world right now, so to rise to this challenge we’re going to have to play close to our best throughout the contest on Sunday.

“The Autumn Nations Cup is all about opportunity – the opportunity to play in a new competition and the opportunity for us as coaches to see how a large number of our squad perform when given the chance to play.”

Scotland team to face France:

15. Stuart Hogg (CAPTAIN) (Exeter Chiefs) – 78 caps

14. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 21 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 3 caps

10. Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors) – 29 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 35 caps

1. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 52 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 27 caps
4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 15 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – 59 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 35 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps

Replacements:
16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh) – 15 caps
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
19. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 8 caps
20. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 7 caps
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Exeter Chiefs) – 13 caps
22. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 26 caps
23. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 48 caps

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