Head Coach Vern Cotter has made two personnel changes to the Scotland team to start against France in this Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations match at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 3pm) – live on BBC.
Glasgow Warriors duo Josh Strauss (number 8) and Alex Dunbar (centre) will start their first match of the 2016 championship, with the occasion marking a first home appearance for Strauss, who debuted during Rugby World Cup 2015.
Strauss switches places with club mate Ryan Wilson – a late change against Italy for the injured David Denton, who remains sidelined with a groin injury – and is the only change to the bench.
Dunbar’s selection at inside-centre sees Duncan Taylor move outfield to take the place of Mark Bennett.
Scotland Head Coach, Vern Cotter, said: “It’s great to be back at home after a good win on the road. The players are really looking forward to putting in a top performance at BT Murrayfield this weekend.
“The win in Rome was a reward for the hard work the players have put in to the championship so far, but the hard work never stops. We must be relentless.
“We’re expecting the French to be physical. They have a culture of trying to dominate their opposition. They are confrontational and will try to keep the ball alive, so we will have to put in a great defensive performance.
“They also have the ability to channel their power through their set-piece, though that is a challenge our pack in particular are relishing, having put in some impressive performances of their own so far.
“We’re looking forward to varying our game, holding the ball and striving to score at every opportunity.
“Work-rate and concentration will be key, and a sustained effort for 80 minutes will be very important.”
The Scotland team is otherwise unchanged, meaning stand-off Finn Russell partners captain Greig Laidlaw at half-back, with the skipper in line to make a half-century of international appearances and equal the record held by former prop David Sole as the most times to captain the country (25).
The back division is completed by Stuart Hogg (full-back) and Tim Visser (wing) who partner Tommy Seymour – two-time try-scorer in this year’s campaign – in the back three.
For the sixth successive Test match, Edinburgh Rugby’s formidable front-row Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and Willem Nel pack down with brothers Jonny and Richie Gray at lock, while John Hardie and John Barclay – try scorers in the last round’s win over Italy in Rome – return to partner Strauss in the loose forwards.
Scotland team to play France at BT Murrayfield Stadium
Sunday 13 March (kick-off 3pm) – live on BBC.
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps; 9 tries, 2 pens, 51 points
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps; 13 tries, 65 points
13. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 15 caps; 1 try, 5 points
12. Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps; 4 tries, 20 points
11. Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 24 caps; 10 tries, 50 points
10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps; 2 tries, 3 cons, 1 pen, 19 points
9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester) – 49 caps; 4 tries, 61 cons, 115 pens, 487 points
1. Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 55 caps; 2 tries, 10 points
2. Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 97 caps; 2 tries, 10 points
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – 11 caps; 1 try, 5 points
4. Richie Gray (Castres) – 54 caps; 2 tries, 10 points
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps; 1 try, 5 points
6. John Barclay (Scarlets) – 48 caps; 4 tries, 20 points
7. John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps; 3 tries, 15 points
8. Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps
17. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
18. Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs) – 30 caps
19. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
20. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps
22. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps; 2 tries, 1 con, 1 pen, 15 points
23. Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) – 103 caps; 14 caps, 70 points