6N: Laidlaw back as chastened Scots ring changes for France
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) Greig Laidlaw will make his first start for Scotland in nearly a year amid six changes to the team for the home match against France in round two of Six Nations rugby on Sunday.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend reacted to the 34-7 thrashing by Wales last weekend by making three changes each in the forwards and the backs.
Laidlaw’s return is the most significant, with the former captain having not started for the Scots since the corresponding fixture last year in Paris because of injuries and his call-up by the British and Irish Lions for the New Zealand tour.
Winger Sean Maitland and center Peter Horne are also recalled, while lock Grant Gilchrist, No. 8 Ryan Wilson and prop Simon Berghan return to the pack.
Scotland came into the Six Nations with increased expectations after beating Australia and a narrow loss to New Zealand in the autumn, but was overwhelmed by the clinical Welsh in Cardiff.
”We’ve seen a response from the players in training this week,” Townsend said, ”and that needs to continue into and through the 80-plus minutes of the match because France will pose a massive and immensely physical challenge.”
France names its team on Friday.
Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Ryan Wilson, Hamish Watson, John Barclay, Jonny Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Simon Berghan, Stuart McInally, Gordon Reid. Reserves: Scott Lawson, Jamie Bhatti, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis, David Denton, Ali Price, Chris Harris, Blair Kinghorn.