Borders quintet look to banish Les Bleus in Paris

Jedburgh international scrum-half Greig Laidlaw returned to home turf this week to promote the Beat the Borders event
Jedburgh international scrum-half Greig Laidlaw returned to home turf this week to promote the Beat the Borders event

ALL FIVE Borders international players have kept their places for the fourth and final RBS 6 Nations match of 2013.

Graham Hogg (Hawick), Greig Laidlaw (Jed-Forest), Ross Ford (Kelso) and captain Kelly Brown (Melrose) have all been named in Scott Johnson’s starting XV while Geoff Cross (Gala) takes his place on the bench.

Grant Gilchrist the 22-year-old Edinburgh Rugby lock, will win his first cap in Saturday’s match against France in Paris.

Gilchrist, the 6ft 8ins product of the Alloa and Stirling County clubs, replaces the injured Richie Gray. The only other change to the starting line-up sees the experienced Alasdair Strokosch preferred to Rob Harley at blindside flanker.

Strokosch had started the championship in the number six jersey but injury in the opening match against England at Twickenham sidelined him from Scotland’s next three outings.

Gilchrist, a winner of the 2011 John Macphail Scholarship – which saw him play club rugby in New Zealand – was an unused replacement on the bench when Scotland lost to Tonga in Aberdeen in November.

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson said: “We have made some progress in this championship and it would be ideal to cement that by a winning performance in Paris. But the needle is stuck in the same groove as far as my view on Saturday’s Test.

“We’ve got to get our basics right. We’ve got to win the contact area, be disciplined in our approach, and get some front-foot ball for our backs. We also want to end the championship on a high.

“We’re not reading much at all into where France are in the table. France are wounded right now and we expect them to come out all guns blazing on Saturday.

“But the target for us is to concentrate on our game and aim to be as high up the table as possible come full-time in Paris.”

Scotland team to play France in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at Stade de France, Paris on Saturday 16 March (kick-off 8pm GMT): Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Duncan Weir, Greig Laidlaw; Ryan Grant, Ross Ford, Euan Murray, Grant Gilchrist, Jim Hamilton, Alasdair Strokosch, Kelly Brown, Johnnie Beattie. Subs: Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Geoff Cross, Alastair Kellock, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson, Max Evans.