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Scotland change 13 and name Finn Russell as skipper versus France

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Gregor Townsend has shaken up his Scotland team, making 13 changes for this Saturday’s Summer Nations Series clash with France following last weekend’s fixture with Italy.

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The Scots were 25-13 winners in that Rugby World Cup build-up opener versus the Azzurri and the two players from that starting XV retained to face the French in game two at Scottish Gas Murrayfield are two-try winger Darcy Graham and back-rower Matt Fagerson, who switches from No8 to blindside on this occasion.

Finn Russell is named as skipper, the fly-half partnering Ben White at half-back, with Sione Tuipulotu chosen as vice-captain and renewing his midfield partnership with Huw Jones. In the pack, Fagerson lines up alongside Hamish Watson and Jack Dempsey in the back row.

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The Bunker explained in rugby

Elsewhere, Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, another vice-captain, are paired in the second row, while the front row will consist of Ewan Ashman alongside Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson.

Rory Darge, who led Scotland to their Italy win, is one of five forwards named in the replacements. Dave Cherry, Jamie Bhatti, WP Nel and Scott Cummings are the other pack options, with backs George Horne, Cameron Redpath and Ollie Smith completing the matchday 23.

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Scotland (vs France, Saturday – 3:15pm)
15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 44 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby) 34 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 36 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors, vice-captain) – 16 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 28 caps
10. Finn Russell (Bath Rugby, captain) – 69 caps
9. Ben White (Toulon) 14 caps
1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 21 caps
2. Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh Rugby) 7 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 58 caps
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 73 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby, vice-captain) – 62 caps
6. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 34 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) 57 caps
8. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 9 caps

Replacements:
16. Dave Cherry (Edinburgh Rugby) 8 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps
18. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 54 caps
19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) 26 caps
20. Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors) 8 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 20 caps
22. Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) 6 caps
23. Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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