Autumn Nations Cup: Scotland v France – Townsend makes changes


Sean Maitland scored two tries in Scotland's Six Nations win against France in February, and returns to the bench
Sean Maitland scored two tries in Scotland’s Six Nations win against France in February, and returns to the bench
Venue: BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Sunday 22 November Kick-off: 15:30 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland, follow text updates on the BBC Sport website

Head coach Gregor Townsend has made five changes to the Scotland team for the Autumn Nations Cup Pool B decider against France on Sunday.

Blair Kinghorn is the only change in the back-line as he replaces Darcy Graham on the wing.

Jamie Ritchie passed the return-to-play protocols after a head injury against Italy and starts in the back row.

He is joined there by Matt Fagerson, who replaces Blade Thomson at number eight having recovered from injury.

Fraser Brown is also back after a head knock and replaces Stuart McInally at hooker to form a new front row alongside Glasgow prop Oli Kebble and Simon Berghan of Edinburgh, with Rory Sutherland ruled out with an ankle problem.

Prop Jamie Bhatti makes his matchday return for the first time since last summer as he is named among the substitutes.

Wing Sean Maitland also returns having been omitted from the squad after a Covid-19 protocol breach while with the Barbarians.

Maitland’s Saracens team-mate Duncan Taylor is back for the first time since last year’s World Cup and is on the bench.

Duncan Weir continues at fly-half in the absence of injured duo Finn Russell and Adam Hastings.

After their final match with Fiji was called off earlier on Friday, a win for Scotland against France at Murrayfield would in all probability secure top spot in Pool B after they beat Italy 28-17 in their opener last week.

Although the outcome of the cancelled clash with Fiji is yet to be determined, France and Italy were both awarded 28-0 victories in the same circumstances.

Townsend’s side are aiming for a sixth consecutive Test win for only the third time ever, and the first since 1990.

No Ntamack for France

France have travelled to Edinburgh without star fly-half Romain Ntamack, who is missing with a thigh injury.

Bordeaux’s Matthieu Jalibert, 22, will make just his second start in his place in one of eight changes made by coach Fabien Galthie.

Thomas Ramos returns at full-back for the injured Anthony Bouthier and Gael Fickou moves to centre to make way for Teddy Thomas on the wing.

France are looking to end a run of four successive defeats at Murrayfield, having lost 28-17 in the Six Nations in March. Their last win in Edinburgh was in 2014.

The teams

Scotland: Hogg (c); Kinghorn, Harris, Johnson, Van der Merwe, Weir, Price; Kebble, Brown, Berghan; Cummings, Gray; Ritchie, Watson, M Fagerson.

Replacements: Turner, Bhatti, Z Fagerson, Skinner, Thomson, Hidalgo-Clyne, Taylor, Maitland.

France: Ramos; Thomas, Vakatawa, Fickou, Rattez; Jalibert, Dupont; Gros, Chat, Bamba, Le Roux, Taofifenua, Cretin, Ollivon (c), Alldritt

Replacements: Marchand, Baille, Haouas, Willemse, Woki, Couilloud, Carbonel, Vincent

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