Nick Haining has been drafted into Scotland’s starting XV for the decisive Guinness Six Nations clash with France after No.8 Matt Fagerson suffered an ankle injury.
Fagerson has started all four of Scotland’s games in this year’s Championship and was set to make it a full house in Paris after being named in head coach Gregor Townsend’s line-up.
But the 22-year-old suffered the ankle knock in training on Wednesday and will stay in Scotland to have it assessed, returning to his club to start the recovery process.
Fagerson’s omission means that Haining is promoted from the replacements into the starting XV for the contest at the Stade de France, while Glasgow Warriors forward Ryan Wilson has been called up at short notice and takes his place on the bench.
“Matt suffered an ankle injury in our final training session this week before we headed to Paris,” explained Townsend. “It is disappointing for Matt, who has been playing consistently well throughout the Championship.
“Nick now has the opportunity from the start to show his abilities in what will be a great challenge for our forward pack.
“We were able to call on Ryan at short notice given Glasgow Warriors had already conducted two Covid tests this week which meant he was safe to travel and join up with the squad.
“Given Ryan’s Test match experience and his form this season, we believe he will grab his opportunity on his return to the squad. And, if he comes off the bench tomorrow night, he will achieve his 50th cap, which is a significant milestone.”
Scotland can still finish second in the table – which would be their highest placing in the Six Nations era – if they record a bonus-point win and prevent France earning two bonus points in defeat.
They will also come second if they beat Les Bleus without a bonus point but with at least a five-point margin of victory while preventing their hosts earning any bonus points.
France are aiming to leapfrog Wales and snatch their first Guinness Six Nations title since 2010 and we’ve outlined the permutations to achieve that here.