Back-row Magnus Bradbury is the only change to the pack – after a timely, man-of the-match-winning return from injury last weekend – to start in place of the injured Ryan Wilson (knee).
The three remaining changes come in the back division, where Glasgow Warriors playmaker Pete Horne – also in man-of-the-match winning form in the Guinness PRO14 last weekend – starts at stand-off in place of Finn Russell, who has a head injury.
Blair Kinghorn replaces the injured Stuart Hogg (shoulder) to earn his third Test start in the full-back role he occupies week in, week out for Edinburgh, while Glasgow Warriors centre Nick Grigg comes into the midfield for injured clubmate Huw Jones (knee).
Josh Strauss makes the trip and starts at No.8 despite losing his passport, causing the Scots some concern yesterday.
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, 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.”
Home advantage has been a defining feature of the nations’ last four meetings, with Scotland winning at BT Murrayfield in the 2016 and 2018 editions of the tournament, while the Scot’s last victory on French soil came en route to the Five Nations title in 1999.
Townsend, stand-off that day in ’99, is well aware of the potency of the French on home soil.
“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 Six Nations 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.”
Reflecting on Scotland’s ambitions he added: “Like France, we too are coming off the back of a defeat and want to show a better picture of ourselves and play closer to our potential.
“The players invested a huge amount of effort against Ireland and this energy will be essential once again this weekend.”
Jones Drops 10 for Six Nations Squad
England head coach Eddie Jones has named his Six Nations squad and has left out 10 players that were involved in the recent Rugby World Cup
Of the absentees Saracens No 8 Billy Vunipola is the biggest name to miss out following the news that he will be injured for the entire tournament through injury.
Other big hitters to be excluded are Joe Cokanasiga, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, and veteran Dan Cole.
However, in their absence there is a total of eight uncapped players set to be involved in Tom Dunn, Ollie Thorley, Ben Earl, Jacob Umaga, Alex Moon, George Furbank, Fraser Dingwell and Will Stuart.
Speaking on their selection Jones admitted that they all have a chance of playing, but that he wanted them to at least be amongst the squad as they build towards the future.
“It is always about winning the next game so we have picked the best squad available. At the same time we wanted to bring some young players in because we need to keep building our depth so for those new players it is an exciting opportunity for them,” he said.
Meanwhile, there is also the inclusion of Josh Hodge and Alex Mitchell, who have been named as apprentices for the campaign and will be training with the first-team squad.
Elsewhere, it is the familiar faces that make-up the squad with the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes and Manu Tuilagi among the experienced players.
With expectation building following their run to the World Cup final last year, Jones has confirmed that the team remain focused on one task and that is their opening game against France in a couple of weeks.
“The Guinness Six Nations for us is all about raising the standards in terms of the way we prepare, tactically and physically how we play the game, and the way we come together off the field. But our first task is beating France in France and that is the only game we need to worry about. We will begin our preparations in Portugal, get a bit of sun, some warm conditions and get ourselves physically and mentally right for the game. The first three days will be about getting organised. We have got players from 11 clubs so we need to get everyone on the same page quickly, spend a lot of time working on our togetherness and then by Tuesday next week we are in Test preparation for France,” he added.
England will be hoping to continue their fine form that saw them pick up silver medals at the tournament in Japan and with some exciting young players having an opportunity things are looking good for Jones and his men.
Check Out the Full 34-Man Squad Below.
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
Tom Dunn (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Ben Earl (Saracens, uncapped)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 45 caps)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 34 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 41 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 62 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 81 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 68 caps)
Alex Moon (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 31 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 39 caps)
Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 79 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 65 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 47 caps)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)
Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)
Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 42 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
Farrell Names Ireland’s Six Nations Squad
New Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has confirmed a 35-man strong squad ahead of the upcoming Six Nations campaign
There is a total of five uncapped players within the squad, while Farrell and his coaching staff have included a further four development players that will train with the senior squad.
All of the five have been in blistering form so far this season, helping Leinster and Ulster to first and second in Conference A of the PRO14 respectively.
Meanwhile, Leinster’s Will Connors, Harry Byrne and Ryan Baird are joined by Ulster’s Robert Baloucoune in the development programme which will see the quartet train with the squad in Portugal in the lead up to the opening round of the tournament.
Speaking on the selections Farrell admitted that he has been impressed by the players that attended a “stock take” last month, but has told players that their places are not guaranteed throughout the entire tournament.
“As we progress through the Championship we will look to select sides that we believe are best suited to the task at the weekend. We will keep a close eye on the provincial performances in the PRO14 not just for the players in the squad that will transition back for game minutes but also for those players that were part of the wider selection discussions over the past few weeks,” he said.
Elsewhere, Johnny Sexton has been named as captain following the retirement of Rory Best following the Rugby World Cup in Japan and Farrell believes that he is the perfect man for the job.
“We have appointed Johnny as captain for the Six Nations Championship, you can see what it means to him and the enthusiasm he will bring to the role. He has been developing as a leader for a number of years with Ireland, Leinster and the Lions and he will be a positive voice for the group,” he added.
There is a return to test rugby for Devin Toner, who was left out of that squad that travelled to Japan, with his replacement Jean Kleyn not being selected. Ultan Dillane is also back as a second-row option alongside stars Iain Henderson and James Ryan.
However, despite his excellent form for Leinster Jamison Gibson-Park is not selected, with John Cooney, Luke McGrath and Conor Murray being preferred in the scrum-half department.
Along with Gibson-Park Ulster fans will be unhappy to see centre Stuart McCloskey miss out after his fine form this season to date, with Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose getting the nod ahead of him.
The rest of the squad is as you would expect with regular players involved.
Ireland will be hoping to get off to the perfect start in the championship when they host Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday February 1st and fans will be excited to see how many youngsters get a chance in what is the start of a new era for Irish Rugby.
Check Out the Full 35-Man Squad Below.
Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps
Caelan Doris (UCD/Leinster) 0 caps
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 14 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 41 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 95 caps
Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 1 cap
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 53 caps
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 8 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 36 caps
Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Ulster) 56 caps
Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) 2 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 64 caps
Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) 0 caps
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 38 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 67 caps
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) 4 caps
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 23 caps
Billy Burns (Ulster) 0 caps
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 18 caps
John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 8 caps
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 82 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 9 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 40 caps
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 19 caps
Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 21 caps
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 19 caps
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 78 caps
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 28 caps
Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 88 caps CAPTAIN
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 25 caps
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ulster)
Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster).
Scotland Confirm Six Nations Squad
Scotland have confirmed their 38-man squad for this year’s Six Nations championship
There are four forwards included in the uncapped bracket with Edinburgh back-rowers Luke Crosbie and Nick Haining being joined by lock Alex Craig and back-row Tom Gordon.
Gordon is one of three uncapped players to come from Glasgow Warriors with Kyle Steyn and Ratu Tagive the two backs selected.
However, despite the youngsters being selected, there is a long-serving player leading the squad as Stuart Hogg has been named as captain of the team.
With 72 caps to his name, he is the most experienced player within the squad and has been named player of the tournament twice before in 2016 and 2017. Townsend thinks that Hogg is he perfect man for the job.
“Stuart is very passionate about playing for Scotland and he’s determined to do all he can to improve Scotland. He really cares about playing for his country, what the jersey represents and also getting the best out of his teammates. He’s a really intelligent rugby player who’s is learning and improving with every season. He’s very good at bringing others into the game and building relationships with those around him. He’s very well respected by our coaching and playing group but that isn’t based on the accolades he’s earned. It’s more about what he does every day at training. He brings energy, is very accurate, he stays out longer to work on his game and more often than not he’s the loudest player on the field, guiding or congratulating his teammates,” he said.
Elsewhere in the squad Townsend has selected the likes of Finn Russell, Sean Maitland, Jonny Gray and Fraser Brown to help guide a relatively inexperienced side.
Scotland take on Ireland in the first round of this year’s tournament and will hope to hit the ground running following a poor Rugby World Cup campaign in which they failed to progress from their pool.
Check Out the Full 38-Man Squad Below.
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh) – 15 caps
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 46 caps
Alex Craig (Gloucester) – uncapped
Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
Allan Dell (London Irish) – 28 caps
Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors) – 6 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 40 caps
Tom Gordon (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 55 caps
Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 33 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 35 caps
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 14 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – 3 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 44 caps
Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 9 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 49 caps
Matt Scott (Edinburgh) – 39 caps
Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Ratu Tagive (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
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