Vern Cotter has changed a winning team without being forced to by recalling Glasgow duo Alex Dunbar and Josh Strauss to the starting team to play France at BT Murrayfield in the RBS 6 Nations on Sunday.
The head coach has dropped Ryan Wilson to the bench and omitted Mark Bennett altogether from the team that started the 36-20 win over Italy in Rome. Dunbar makes his return after a year’s absence battling knee, shoulder and hamstring injuries and will partner Duncan Taylor in the midfield. Both players played no part in the Rugby World Cup campaign last autumn due to injuries.
Strauss makes only his third start for Scotland at No 8 in preference to Wilson as David Denton is still not fit after suffering a groin injury in the build up to the Italy game. Wilson had a good hour against Italy but Strauss’ greater power is preferred with Scotland coming up against one of the biggest packs in the championship.
Greig Laidlaw will captain the team for the 25th time, equalling the record held by 1990 Grand Slam skipper David Sole. It will also be the scrum-half’s 50th cap.
Scotland team: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, WP Nel; Richie Gray, Jonny Gray; John Barclay, John Hardie, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Rory Sutherland, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Peter Horne, Sean Lamont.