Kinghorn and Horne start as Scotland change four

Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his Scotland team to face France including a recall for Blair Kinghorn and a start at fly-half for Peter Horne.

Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his Scotland team to face France including a recall for Blair Kinghorn and a start at fly-half for Peter Horne.

The Scots head to Paris looking to bounce back from defeat to Ireland in the last round of the Guinness Six Nations, but have lost Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg to injury since that game.

As a result it is Horne who gets the nod in the No.10 jersey, preferred to Glasgow Warriors teammate Adam Hastings, while Kinghorn returns to the starting side at full-back having scored a hat-trick in his only start of the campaign to date.

Elsewhere flanker Magnus Bradbury comes straight into the starting line-up for his first appearance of the Championship in place of the injured Ryan Wilson, while in the centres Nick Grigg is tasked with replacing Huw Jones.

Despite the absence of four key men, Townsend is optimistic that his reshuffled side, which will once again be captained by Greig Laidlaw, can step up.

He said: “Injuries create opportunities for others to show what they can do and, throughout the past couple of seasons, we’ve seen a number of players really step up.

“All of the players coming in started against Argentina in the summer, which ranks as one of our best ever away performances.

“On top of that there is cohesion forged through familiarity at club level – Magnus [Bradbury] in the back-row lines up with clubmate Jamie Ritchie, and Pete Horne and Nick Grigg are either side of Sam Johnson in the backs.”

There are also some new faces on the bench, with tighthead prop Zander Fagerson fit again, while Gary Graham returns to cover the back row.

Hastings is expected to get a chance off the bench at fly-half, with exciting Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham also included in the matchday 23.

Scotland are looking for a first win in Paris for 20 years, with Townsend having played in that 1999 side, and the coach is well-aware of the challenge posed by Les Bleus, even after two losses to start their campaign.

He added: “At home, France have played really well in the past two Championships. They were 16-0 up at half-time against Wales, and their previous Championship games before included a win over England and a last-minute defeat to the eventual Irish team that went on to win the Grand Slam.

“They are a very dangerous opponent, combining power, ambition and skill. Their individual talent is outstanding and, when they get things right – which has predominantly been in the Six Nations at home – they’ve played with a real collective spirit and fed off the emotion of the crowd.

“They will certainly be fired up following their loss at Twickenham.”

Scotland team to face France:

15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 13. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) 12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) 11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) 10. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 9. Greig Laidlaw (c) (Clermont Auvergne)

1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) 2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) 3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) 4. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) 5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 6. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) 7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) 8. Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks)


16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 17. Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) 18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) 20. Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) 21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) 22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) 23. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh)