Finn Russell captains Scotland as big guns return for France clash - but Jamie Ritchie misses out

Finn Russell has been selected at stand-off by Scotland for Saturday's Summer Nations Series match against France at Scottish Gas Murrayfield. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)Finn Russell has been selected at stand-off by Scotland for Saturday's Summer Nations Series match against France at Scottish Gas Murrayfield. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Finn Russell has been selected at stand-off by Scotland for Saturday's Summer Nations Series match against France at Scottish Gas Murrayfield. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Gregor Townsend has brought back his big guns for Scotland's second World Cup warm-up match, against France at Scottish Gas Murrayfield on Saturday.

The head coach has made 13 changes to his starting XV following the 25-13 win over Italy last weekend. As expected, Finn Russell takes over from Ben Healy at stand-off and will link up with scrum-half Ben White in the half-back combination that served Scotland well during this year’s Six Nations. In the absence of Jamie Ritchie, who is understood to be carrying an injury, Russell will captain Scotland.

Outside him, the Glasgow Warriors centre pairing of Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones is reunited. Duhan van der Merwe replaces Kyle Steyn on the left wing while Darcy Graham is on the right, one of only two players to retain his place from the Italy game. Blair Kinghorn get his chance at full-back as the search to find a successor to the now retired Stuart Hogg continues. Ollie Smith wore 15 in the win over Italy and has been named among the replacements for this weekend.

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In the pack, first-choice props Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson return to the team, with new Edinburgh signing Ewan Ashman picked at hooker. The experienced Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist are picked in the second row, while in the back row, Matt Fagerson retains his place from the Italy match but switches from No 8 to blindside flanker. His Glasgow team-mate Jack Dempsey comes in at No 8 and Hamish Watson is at openside.

Townsend has essentially brought back the team that helped Scotland to third place in the Six Nations, their highest finish in five years. After this weekend’s match at Murrayfield, Scotland will face France, on August 12 in Saint-Etienne, before finishing their warm-up schedule with a home game against Georgia on August 26. The Scots open their Rugby World Cup campaign against holders South Africa in Marseille on September 10 before going on to face Tonga, Romania and Ireland in Pool B.

Scotland team (v France, Murrayfield, Saturday, 3.15pm. TV: live on Prime Video)

15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 44 caps

14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) 34 caps

13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 36 caps

12. Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) - vice-captain - 16 caps

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 28 caps

10. Finn Russell (Bath) - captain - 69 caps

9. Ben White (Toulon) 14 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh) 21 caps

2. Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh) 7 caps

3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 58 caps

4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 73 caps

5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) - vice-captain - 62 caps

6. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 34 caps

7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) 57 caps

8. Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 9 caps

Replacements

16. Dave Cherry (Edinburgh) 8 caps

17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 30 caps

18. WP Nel (Edinburgh) 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) 6 caps

23. Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps

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