Borders quartet to face France

Shift pics.''PIC PHIL WILKINSON 'info@philwilkinson.net'www.philwilkinson.net'01316186373 - 07740444373''Scotland v New Zealand pre press conference.'Captain Greig Laidlaw , pictured today at the Scotland Captian'spress conference.

Shift pics.''PIC PHIL WILKINSON 'info@philwilkinson.net'www.philwilkinson.net'01316186373 - 07740444373''Scotland v New Zealand pre press conference.'Captain Greig Laidlaw , pictured today at the Scotland Captian'spress conference.

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Head coach Vern Cotter today named four Borders rugby players in his Scotland squad for this Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations opener against France.

Jedburgh’s Greig Laidlaw, who is just one point away from scoring 300 for his country, will captain the side from his usual scrum-half position while Hawick’s Stuart Hogg (full-back) and Kelso hooker Ross Ford also appear in the starting line up. Gala prop Geoff Cross is on the bench.

The starting team features just two changes to that which defeated Tonga 37-12 in the final viagogo Autumn Test, and three championship debutants in Finn Russell (stand-off), Mark Bennett (centre) and Blair Cowan (back-row).

Former Selkirk centre Alex Dunbar, originally from Dumfries, starts at centre.

Cotter, said: “Seeing the passion and desire among our players in the build up to the tournament has been special.

“France will be tough. They played well in the autumn series but remain frustrated with past results in the RBS 6 Nations.

“They will be very difficult to contain so we’ll have to stay tight as a unit, work hard for each other and try to apply some pressure.”

Scotland team to play France at the Stade de France, Paris, in the RBS 6 Nations Championship (kick-off 6pm local, 5pm GMT) – live on BBC1: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Euan Murray, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Blair Cowan, Johnnie Beattie. Subs: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Geoff Cross, Jim Hamilton, Alasdair Strokosch, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Peter Horne, Dougie Fife.

Not considered through injury: Adam Ashe (neck), Chris Cusiter (knee), Chris Fusaro (ankle), Grant Gilchrist (arm), Tyrone Holmes (face), Ruaridh Jackson (knee), Sean Lamont (calf), Henry Pyrgos (knee), Matt Scott (shoulder), Tim Swinson (calf), Duncan Taylor (hamstring), Duncan Weir (arm).