Six Nations 2013: Grant Gilchrist to earn first Scotland cap in Paris

Al Strokosh and Grant Gilchrist

RBS Six Nations

Venue:
Stade de France, Paris
Date:
Saturday, 16 March
Kick-off:
20:00 GMT
Coverage:
Watch on BBC Two, HD & Online; Listen on Radio Scotland, 5 Live Sports Extra & online; live text commentary online; highlights & analysis on Six Nations Special

Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist will earn his first Scotland cap in Saturday's final Six Nations match against France.

Gilchrist replaces the injured Richie Gray, while Alasdair Strokosch is preferred to Rob Harley at blindside flanker in the only other change.

Gray was carried off during Scotland's 28-18 Six Nations defeat by Wales last weekend.

"It's a very special moment and a massive opportunity," said Gilchrist.

The Scots are looking for their third win of the campaign and interim head coach Scott Johnson has urged his players to shine in Paris.

"We've got to get our basics right," he said.

"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.

"I've been impressed with Gilcho. I've spoken of form and future and he fits the bill in the latter category but he's also keen as mustard and we want to look at him in the company of a very good French side.

"We looked at every position in detail after last weekend and we reckoned that Strokosch's experience gave him the nod in the back-row.

"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."

Victories at home to Italy and Ireland mean Scotland are already guaranteed to avoid finishing last for the second year in a row.

The wooden spoon, however, is a very real prospect for France, who have picked up just a solitary point in their opening four matches.

Gilchrist follows Harley, Sean Maitland and Duncan Weir, who have all been handed their first start for Scotland by Johnson in this campaign.

"It's a massive opportunity for me, something I have dreamt of since I was a kid, to play for Scotland. I just can't wait to get on with Saturday night," he said.

"It's brilliant that Scott is willing to show faith in us young guys - but it is up to us now to deliver."

Full Scotland team to play France:

Backs: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) vice-captain, Forwards: Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) vice-captain, Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Kelly Brown (Saracens) captain, Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier).

Replacements: Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres).

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