Tuilagi and Lawes return for England, while Faletau is back for Wales


Rory Darge will make his first start for Scotland in their Six Nations clash with France on Saturday after Gregor Townsend was forced to reshuffle his squad.

The Glasgow Warriors flanker is named alongside Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury in a brand new back row, the latter making his first Scotland start since 2020.

A host of injuries forced a group of players – including Cam Redpath, Rory Sutherland, Javan Sebastian, Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings – out of competition.

Six other faces have been called up to the extended squad, although only prop Oli Kebble is celebrating among those added after Scotland’s 20-17 loss to Wales last time out.

Sam Skinner moves to partner Grant Gilchrist in lockdown as WP Nel drops to the substitute bench in what are ultimately two direct changes to the starting lineup.

Meanwhile, France make only one change to their starting XV, after Gabin Villière was sent off with a sinus fracture suffered against Ireland.

Jonathan Danty returns to the squad after dropping out for the 30-24 victory over Andy Farrell’s side, while Yoram Moefana moves to the wing to cover the absence of Toulon star Villiere.

The Blues remain the only unbeaten side in this year’s Championship but now face back-to-back fixtures on the road after enjoying the home advantage in their opening two games.

Both teams will be ready to go for yards, with Scottish duo Stuart Hogg (843) and Finn Russell (747) having racked up more kicking yards than any other Six Nations 2022 player so far.

However, it was France (2,261) who did the most as a team, with three different players having covered more than 500 meters with the boot for them in Antoine Dupont (682), Melvyn Jaminet (564) and Romain Ntamack ( 501).

It will be the 99th meeting between the two nations in all competitions, with France winning 56 times and Scotland 39 times.

However, the honors are evenly split over their last 10 encounters, with both sides claiming five wins each in that span.

Scotland team: Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, Zander Fagerson, Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist, Rory Darge, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: George Turner, Oli Kebble, WP Nel, Jamie Hodgson, Nick Haining, Ben White, Blair Kinghorn, Mark Bennett.

French team : Melvyn Jaminet, Damian Penaud, Gaël Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Yoram Moefana, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Cameron Woki, Paul Willemse, François Cros, Anthony Jelonch, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Thibaud Flament, Dylan Cretin, Maxime Lucu, Thomas Ramos.


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