Scotland: Hamish Watson returns to start crunch Six Nations clash against France
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made just one change to his starting line-up for the Round Three Six Nations clash with France.
Hamish Watson returns to start at openside flank against Les Bleus, with Luke Crosbie falling out of the team entirely.
Watson has been working his way back to full fitness and played Edinburgh’s United Rugby Championship match against Scarlets last weekend. He played 64 minutes, making nine carries, 11 tackles and won a turnover. He is set to earn his 55th Test cap for Scotland.
Outside of Watson, Townsend has kept faith with the team that hammered Wales in Round Two of the Six Nations.
Stuart Hogg starts at full-back despite speculation that Blair Kinghorn would replace him after sustaining a head injury against Wales. Instead, Kinghorn retains his place on the bench.
In-form wingers Kyle Steyn and Duhan van der Merwe start out wide, with the centre pairing of Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones resuming their partnership. Ben White and Finn Russell continue at scrum-half and fly-half, respectively.
Jamie Ritchie captains the side from the blindside flank, with Watson at openside and the competition’s top tackler Matt Fagerson at number eight.
Pierre Schoeman, George Turner and Zander Fagerson make up the front-row, with Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist retaining their starting roles in the second-row.
Changes on the bench
There are further tweaks on the bench as Townsend opts for a six-two split. Sam Skinner returns to the matchday squad, as too does scrum-half Ali Price.
The front-row replacements remain the same in Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti and WP Nel. Jonny Gray and Skinner provide cover in the second and possibly the back-row. Jack Dempsey fills the number 21 jersey as cover in the loose trio.
Price and Kinghorn complete the bench as backline replacements. The change to a six-two split sees centre Chris Harris miss out on the 23 after being a substitute in the first two matches.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 WP Nel, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Ali Price, 23 Blair Kinghorn
Date: Sunday, 26 February
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 16:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
READ MORE: Italy v Ireland: Six Nations preview as Grand Slam chasers to put brave Azzurri to the sword in Rome
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