Six Nations: Darge to make full debut for Scotland in France clash

By Sports Desk February 24, 2022

Rory Darge will make his first start for Scotland in their Six Nations clash with France on Saturday after Gregor Townsend was forced to reshuffle his pack.

The Glasgow Warriors flanker is named alongside Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury in an all-new back row, with the latter making his first Scotland start since 2020.

A slew of injuries have forced a clutch of players – including Cam Redpath, Rory Sutherland, Javan Sebastian, Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings – to drop out of contention.

Six more faces have been called up to the wider squad, though only prop Oli Kebble makes the matchday party from those added following Scotland's 20-17 defeat to Wales last time out.

Sam Skinner moves up to partner Grant Gilchrist at lock while WP Nel drops to the replacement bench in what is ultimately two direct changes to the starting line-up.

France meanwhile make just the one change to their starting XV, after Gabin Villiere was ruled out with a sinus fracture sustained against Ireland.

Jonathan Danty comes back into the side after dropping out for the 30-24 win over Andy Farrell's side, while Yoram Moefana moves over to the wing to cover the Toulon star Villiere's absence.

Les Bleus remain the only side unbeaten in this year's Championship, but now face consecutive matches on the road after enjoying home advantage in their first two games.

Both teams will be out to make metres, with Scotland duo Stuart Hogg (843) and Finn Russell (747) having accrued more kicking metres than any other players in the 2022 Six Nations so far.

However, it is France (2,261) who have made the most as a team, with three different players having made 500+ metres with the boot for them in Antoine Dupont (682), Melvyn Jaminet (564) and Romain Ntamack (501).

This will be the 99th clash between the two nations in all competitions, with France claiming victory on 56 occasions and Scotland winning 39 times.

However, the honours are evenly split across their last 10 meetings with both sides picking up five wins apiece during that period.

Scotland team:  Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, Zander Fagerson, Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist, Rory Darge, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements:  George Turner, Oli Kebble, WP Nel, Jamie Hodgson, Nick Haining, Ben White, Blair Kinghorn, Mark Bennett.

France team:  Melvyn Jaminet, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Yoram Moefana, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Cameron Woki, Paul Willemse, Francois Cros, Anthony Jelonch, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements:  Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Thibaud Flament, Dylan Cretin, Maxime Lucu, Thomas Ramos.

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