Scotland make five changes for France clash as they aim to stretch winning streak

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FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - Wales v Scotland
FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - Wales v Scotland

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland have made five changes to their starting lineup for Sunday’s Nations Cup clash against France at Murrayfield as they seek a sixth successive test victory.

Four of the changes come in the pack where coach Gregor Townsend has opted for a new front row with South African-born Oli Kebble getting a first start as he links up with hooker Fraser Brown and Simon Berghan. Matt Fagerson returns to the back of the pack after an ankle injury.

In the backs, Blair Kinghorn takes the place of Darcy Graham on the wing.

Scotland beat Italy away last week to make a positive start to their campaign and extend their winning streak to five consecutive test victories, a sequence which began against France in the Six Nations in March.

Only twice have Scotland won six tests in a row since 1900 – in 1925/26 and 1989/90.

“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,” Townsend said as he named the team on Friday.

“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."

Team:

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

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

Substitutes:

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

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by xx)