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Returning duo set to reinforce Scotland for upcoming France clash

By PA
Scotland's lock Grant Gilchrist (C) takes part in the captain's run training session at Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq near Lille, northern France on September 29, 2023, on the eve of the team's match against Romania as part of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP) (Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

Rory Darge and Grant Gilchrist look set for Test match returns when Scotland continue their Guinness Six Nations campaign against France at Murrayfield.

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Both players were sidelined for Scotland’s thrilling 27-26 victory over Wales in Cardiff, with flanker Darge nursing a knee injury and lock Gilchrist being suspended.

And their availability is timely, given that second-row forward Richie Gray could miss the rest of this season’s tournament due to a biceps problem, while Luke Crosbie suffered a shoulder injury as both players made early exits at the Principality Stadium.

“Grant will be available,” Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said.

“He trained all week, and it is good we have got a second-row back this week with Richie’s injury.

“Rory trained fully the last two days, so he will be good to go. It is timely that we’ve got two replacements there.”

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Scotland were almost overwhelmed by a stunning Wales fightback that saw them score 26 unanswered points between the 48th and 68th minutes.

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It left Townsend’s team hanging on by a point – they also had two players yellow-carded and conceded 14 successive penalties – before regaining their composure and closing out the game for a first win in Cardiff since 2002.

“We will look at each penalty, why we got on the wrong side of the referee,” he added.

“We have to show the players of being aware if a referee is penalising you, or if a team starts to get dominance, let’s not help them by giving more penalties away.

“The two yellow cards really cost us, just when the momentum swing went in their favour.

“There are going to be times when the opposition do gain momentum. We just can’t help them by going down to 14 men and giving penalties away.

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“We had to contain Wales at the end, call a play and execute it. That was really good. But if we had lost, it would have been a big blow. No denying that.”

France will arrive in Edinburgh following a crushing 38-17 home defeat against Ireland, which was their first game since bowing out of the World Cup to quarter-final conquerors South Africa.

“They are a great side with world-class players and a massive pack,” Townsend said, of Les Bleus.

“France will be desperate to get a win on the back of the two defeats they’ve had – one in the World Cup and one against Ireland.

“But we also have an opportunity to play in front of our supporters and make sure we deliver the game we did for 42 minutes (against Wales), and the last few minutes. Don’t forget those!”

Six Nations

P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
Ireland
1
1
0
0
5
2
England
1
1
0
0
4
3
Scotland
1
1
0
0
4
4
Wales
1
0
1
0
2
5
Italy
1
0
1
0
1
6
France
1
0
1
0
0
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