Dunbar back from long lay-off for Scotland


Alex Dunbar will make his first appearance for Scotland in more than a year after being selected at inside centre for Sunday's home Six Nations match against France.

A ruptured anterior cruciate ligament ruled Dunbar out of last year's Rugby World Cup, with further injury problems subsequently delaying his return to the international stage.

However, the Glasgow Warriors man is one of two new faces in Vern Cotter's team to face France at Murrayfield, as Scotland look to build on victory over Italy last time out.

Mark Bennett makes way for Dunbar, a decision that sees Duncan Taylor shift to outside centre, while another Glasgow player, Josh Strauss, will make his home debut at number eight having been preferred to Ryan Wilson.

Scrum half Greig Laidlaw is set to captain Scotland for a 25th time - equalling the record held by David Sole.

Head coach Cotter said: "We're expecting the French to be physical. They have a culture of trying to dominate their opposition. They are confrontational and will try to keep the ball alive, so we will have to put in a great defensive performance.

"They also have the ability to channel their power through their set-piece, though that is a challenge our pack in particular are relishing, having put in some impressive performances of their own so far.

"We're looking forward to varying our game, holding the ball and striving to score at every opportunity. Work-rate and concentration will be key, and a sustained effort for 80 minutes will be very important."


Scotland team to face France: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (captain); 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, Pete Horne, Sean Lamont.