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Scotland v France: Build-up ahead of Six Nations showdown

The Scots are looking to bounce back from a disappointing opening day defeat in Wales.

Gregor Townsend: Hoping to bounce back from last week.
Gregor Townsend: Hoping to bounce back from last week. SNS Group

Scotland host France at BT Murrayfield in their first home Six Nations match on Sunday, with Gregor Townsend's side looking to bounce back after suffering a heavy opening day defeat in Wales last weekend.

The Scots were beaten 34-7 in Cardiff last weekend, conceding four tries at the Principality Stadium.

Attention now turns to this weekend's clash with France, who suffered a dramatic 15-13 loss to Ireland last weekend in Paris, courtesy of an 83rd minute Johnny Sexton drop goal.

Here we run the rule over how both sides are shaping up for the contest.

Scotland

Greig Laidlaw: Returns to starting line-up.
Greig Laidlaw: Returns to starting line-up. SNS Group

Gregor Townsend has responded to last week's Welsh disaster by making six changes to his Scotland line-up ahead of facing France.

The Scots were hammered 34-7 in what was a shock start to their 2018 Six Nations campaign last Saturday.

Scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, centre Peter Horne, wing Sean Maitland, prop Simon Berghan, lock Grant Gilchrist and number eight Ryan Wilson come in for Sunday's clash at Murrayfield.

Ali Price - whose intercepted pass handed Gareth Davies the crucial opening score at the Principality Stadium - makes way for Laidlaw as he is joined on the bench by last week's starters Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis and Chris Harris.

Cornell du Preez and the injured Byron McGuigan drop out of the 23.

Starting XV: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Peter Horne (all Glasgow), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Finn Russell (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne); Gordon Reid (London Irish), Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), John Barclay (Scarlets, capt), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow).

Replacements: Scott Lawson (Newcastle), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow), Jon Welsh (Newcastle), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), Dave Denton (Worcester), Ali Price (Glasgow), Chris Harris (Newcastle), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh).

Townsend has called for a response that will "energise our supporters" in the first home game of the campaign.

"We've seen a response from the players in training this week and that needs to continue into and through the 80-plus minutes of the match because France will pose a massive and immensely physical challenge," he said.

France

France have made three changes from the side defeated 15-13 in Paris last weekend.

Head coach Jacques Brunel has recalled Lyon fly-half Lionel Beauxis, who will make his first start in six years for Les Bleus, replacing Matthieu Jalibert who injured his knee in the Ireland defeat.

Marco Tauleigne replaces the injured Kevin Gourdon at number eight and Geoffrey Doumayrou returns to the starting XV after a slight knock kept him out of last weekend's match.

Henry Chavancy drops out of the 23-man squad entirely after playing the full match in Paris.

Previous meetings

February 2017: France 22-16 Scotland

March 2016: Scotland 29-18 France

Sept 2015: France 19-16 Scotland (World Cup warm-up match)

February 2015: France 15-8 Scotland

March 2014: Scotland 17-19 France

March 2013: France 23-16 Scotland

February 2012: Scotland 17-23 France

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