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Six Nations: Graeme Morrison ready for physical battle against the French

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SCOTLAND’S heavyweight midfield can deliver in Sunday’s Six Nations clash with World Cup finalists France, according to Graeme Morrison.

Glasgow Warriors centre Morrison was this week recalled to the starting XV as one of four changes as Scotland bid to claim a first win of the tournament following losses to England and Wales.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has partnered Morrison with Sean Lamont in the centre in what is sure to be a physical confrontation with Wesley Fofana and Aurelien Rougerie.

Morrison said: “The backs in world rugby aren’t getting any smaller.

“Myself and Sean aren’t the smallest two, but neither are the French. It’s going to be an exciting competition and one I’m looking forward to.

“I know what my strengths are and my aim is to play well and consistently throughout the game. I find if I get my basics right the rest falls into place.”

Morrison and Lamont must find the balance between sucking in French defenders and distributing the ball wide to Scotland’s dangerous runners, including Stuart Hogg at full-back.

Key to the performance of the centres is the forwards winning possession and the display of half-backs Mike Blair and Greig Laidlaw.

Morrison is looking forward to playing alongside Edinburgh captain Laidlaw after a week of training.

The 29-year-old added: “It’s great playing with Greig, who takes the ball right to the line, and hopefully with that he’ll be able to put us in holes and it’s about myself and Sean working well together.

“We played a couple of times in the centre together way back when he was at Glasgow and once against Wales two years ago.

“We talk a lot through training and it’s getting that cohesion through the game.”

Scotland dominated against both England and Wales, albeit in defeat.

Morrison, once a regular in the Test team, was an unused replacement for the Calcutta Cup clash and left out of the squad altogether for Cardiff.

He returned to Glasgow, playing in successive weeks in the RaboDirect PRO12, and with Joe Ansbro (back) and Max Evans (ankle) injured is relishing a return to the Test arena in a reshuffled back-line.

Morrison, who is poised to win his 33rd cap on Sunday, added: “It was tough, but at the same time it was good to get back to Glasgow and get a couple of good games under my belt.”

Scotland are seeking to arrest a four-match losing streak with just a second Six Nations win over France - the victory in 2006 was the only one in 12 previous attempts.

Scotland have scored one try in their last five Tests - Laidlaw’s effort against Wales - and Morrison hopes the backs, in particular, can right the wrongs of that statistic this weekend.

He said: “There’s a lot of talk about the tries and lack of tries, but what’s been positive about the last couple of games is we’ve created opportunities.

“The accuracy of the last couple of sets of hands...it’s not quite clicked. That’s something we’ll look to put right this week.

“The forwards have done really well, provided great ball, so it’s probably about time the backs gave them a little back in terms of some good attacking plays and hopefully crossing that whitewash.”

 

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