Alex Dunbar and Josh Strauss have been brought into Vern Cotter’s Scotland squad to try and match the physicality of the French runners, with Strauss set to make his debut in a Scotland shirt at Murrayfield. Ryan Wilson, who impressed against Italy, moves to the bench.
In the midfield, Dunbar will start at 12 with Duncan Taylor moving to 13. It represents a hard-running midfield with two fairly similar styles but also the two in-form players – although Dunbars form streak is pretty short having just come back from injury.
So we may see little change of tactic from the main attacking lines coming from Finn Russell linking directly to the back three. Mark Bennett, having been arguably the least impressive Scotland back of the tournament so far, has made way altogether with Pete Horne offering the zip from the bench.
There’s no space on the bench for Henry Pyrgos to offer Cotter a more tried-and-tested (or trusted?) replacement for Laidlaw so we’re probably also going to see the likes of Greig and WP Nel playing for close to the full 80 as they have before.
Elsewhere the team is unchanged with the players who tasted success against Italy keen to do the same in front of a BT Murrayfield crowd.
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps; 9 tries, 2 pens, 51 points
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps; 13 tries, 65 points
13. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 15 caps; 1 try, 5 points
12. Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps; 4 tries, 20 points
11. Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 24 caps; 10 tries, 50 points
10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps; 2 tries, 3 cons, 1 pen, 19 points
9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester) – 49 caps; 4 tries, 61 cons, 115 pens, 487 points
1. Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 55 caps; 2 tries, 10 points
2. Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 97 caps; 2 tries, 10 points
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – 11 caps; 1 try, 5 points
4. Richie Gray (Castres) – 54 caps; 2 tries, 10 points
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps; 1 try, 5 points
6. John Barclay (Scarlets) – 48 caps; 4 tries, 20 points
7. John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps; 3 tries, 15 points
8. Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps
17. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
18. Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs) – 30 caps
19. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
20. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps
22. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps; 2 tries, 1 con, 1 pen, 15 points
23. Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) – 103 caps; 14 caps, 70 points
UPDATE: here’s the French team, which is unfortunately the strongest they’ve fielded so far:
France: Scott Spedding, Wesley Fofana, Gael Fickou, Maxime Mermoz, Virimi Vakatawa, Francois Trinh-Duc, Maxime Machenaud; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Rabah Slimani, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Wenceslas Lauret, Yacouba Camara, Damien Chouly
Replacements: Camille Chat, Uini Antonio, Vincent Pelo, Sebastien Vehaamahina, Loann Goujon, Sebastien Bezy, Jules Plisson, Maxime Medard
Meanwhile Scotland Under 20s head coach John Dalziel has made six changes to his team as they prepare to face their French counterparts at Broadwood this Friday (kick-off 8pm) – coverage provided live on www.scottishrugby.org – possibly a live stream. Zander Fagerson joins a seasoned core with professional experience that illustrate just how far the academies and Exiles system have brought our age-grade sides – it’s not too difficult to recall a time when a lot of the the clubs listed were schools whereas now there are a much higher proportion in pro academies, sevens caps and now Fagerson has a full international cap. Were it not for the selection travesty against Wales that saw a squad depleted by pro-call ups fall off in the second half, these boys could be on a Grand Slam challenge.
15. Ruairi Howarth (Gala), 14. Ben Robbins (Currie), 13. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), 12. Tom Galbraith (Melrose), 11. Darcy Graham (Hawick), 10. Adam Hastings (Bath Rugby), 9. Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s); 1. Murray McCallum (Heriot’s), 2. Jake Kerr (Boroughmuir), 3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 4. Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County), 5. Scott Cummings CAPTAIN (Glasgow Hawks), 6. Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Hawks), 7. Matt Smith (Glasgow Hawks), 8. Ally Miller (Melrose)
Replacements: 16. Lewis Anderson (Ayr), 17. George Thornton (Bishop Burton College), 18. Callum Sheldon (Leeds Beckett University), 19. Stephen Ainslie (Currie), 20. Scott Burnside (Boroughmuir), 21. Ruaridh Dawson (Newcastle Falcons), 22. George Taylor (Melrose), 23. Robbie Nairn (Harlequins)
A live stream via Scottish Rugby website youtube will appear here: