Rugby Union

Vern Cotter names a tough side to face an experienced French outfit.

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Vern Cotter names a tough side to face France, but omits Stuart Hogg.

France have named a team with only two changes to the team that beat England in Paris with Yoann Maestri makes way for Alexandre Flanquart. Captain Thierry Dusautoir also returns from a knee problem to start.

Meanwhile Cotter has made several changes. The mercurial Stuart Hogg, makes way for New Zealand born Sean Maitland, who has returned from injury. Tommy Seymour also makes a return from injury to start on the wing. Flying Dutchman Tim Visser takes the other wing spot. Veteran Sean Lamont is on the bench to cover wing and centre.

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Matt Scott and Mark Bennett start in the centre. Eyes will be fixed on how these centres perform in defence as both Bennett and Scott have been criticised for being weak in this area. They will want a strong game to put themselves ahead of rival centres Peter Horne and Richie Vernon.

Greig Laidlaw will captain from scrum-half and Finn Russell plays fly-half. They will be backed up by versatile Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Duncan Weir.

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The front row remains unchanged from the record victory against Italy. Fraser Brown comes onto the bench instead of McInally. However Welsh and Reid remain.

The Gray brothers start together for the first time since the Six Nations with Tim Swinson on the bench. On the subject of Scottish second rows, veteran Jim Hamilton has decided to call time on his career after missing out on a World Cup squad spot.

New Zealand import John Hardie starts to earn his second Scotland cap. Hardie earned his first cap last weekend against Italy. He is currently unattached after parting ways with the Highlanders at the end of last season, has signed a short term contract with the Scottish rugby union.

Despite his lack of international inexperience Hardie has been picked as the only open side flanker going to the World Cup, being picked ahead of in form veteran John Barclay and fellow New Zealander Blair Cowan.

Hardie is joined in the backrow by Ryan Wilson and Dave Denton. Veteran Alasdair Strokosch is the bench cover.

Scotland team to play France: Sean Maitland, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Tim Visser, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (captain); Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Willem Nel, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, John Hardie, David Denton.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh, Tim Swinson, Alasdair Strokosch, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Duncan Weir, Sean Lamont.

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Topics:
Scotland Rugby
Rugby Union
IRB Rugby World Cup

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