Greig Laidlaw one of six Scotland changes for France clash

Feb 12, 2018, 00:37
Greig Laidlaw one of six Scotland changes for France clash

Greig Laidlaw booted 22 points in his first test start in almost a year to guide Scotland to a 32-26 win over France on Sunday, kickstarting the team's Six Nations campaign after last week's mauling in Wales.

Celebrating his restoration to Scotland's starting line-up for the first time in 12 months, the 32-year-old scrumhalf, who plays his club rugby in France for Clermont - also weighed in with two first-half conversions for a personal tally of 22 points.

And it soon went from bad to worse for the home side, Maxime Machenaud slotting a penalty to make it ten points in ten minutes.

Sean Maitland replaces Byron McGuigan on the wing, in the pack, Ryan Wilson, Grant Gilchrist and Simon Berghan are selected, while Blair Kinghorn is set to win his first cap from the bench.

It looked early on as though the decision to recall Laidlaw would not pay off as Scotland fell behind and were chasing the game.

"We felt like we were testing them and knew if we held onto the ball, we would cause them trouble". Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 13.

Two further three-pointers from Laidlaw, after being switched to the stand-off role, stretched Les Bleus' winless run to an eighth match.

Laidlaw could have reduced the arrears after sprinting clear from an attack, but the scrum-half knocked on close to the line.

Laidlaw, who was named man-of-the-match, admitted he was "slightly surprised" to be moved to fly-half, moments after levelling the scores at 26-26 with his fourth penalty of the second half.

Laidlaw followed up with a fourth penalty success, squaring the match at 26-26 after 64 minutes. "It was really to see if he could last 80 and bringing on Ali (Price the other scrumhalf) was a positive for the team".

The Scots got the balling rolling in the second half, Laidlaw kicking a penalty to cut the lead back to three points. His analysis of Scotland's shortcomings, and his prognosis for France at Murrayfield today, will strike a chord with Scotland supporters.

France, meanwhile, had their hearts broken owing to a 83rd-minute Johnny Sexton drop-goal at Stade de France last week.

Teddy Thomas crossed for a wonderful individual try last week, but France also need brute force if they are to create more scoring opportunities.

Both teams opened their Six Nations campaigns with defeats at the weekend, but it was Scotland who suffered the more damaging result.

David Denton and Blair Kinghorn both come on to the replacements' bench, with the latter set for his worldwide debut.

"As a group we're delighted to be playing at home in front of another sell-out crowd at BT Murrayfield and are looking forward to putting in a performance that can energise our supporters", he added.

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