Scotland hand Gilchrist debut
March 13, 2013
Edinburgh's Grant Gilchrist starts for Scotland on Saturday © PA Photos
Scotland will go into Saturday's trip to Paris looking to secure their third win in the tournament following their victories over Italy and Ireland. France, in turn, will be hoping to record their first triumph of the championship in what has been a torrid campaign for Philippe Saint-Andre's side.
And interim coach Johnson has opted to make two changes to the side that started against Wales on Saturday. Star lock Richie Gray faces six to eight weeks out with a leg injury so Johnson has handed Edinburgh's Gilchrist his Test debut. And at blindside, Strokosch, who was injured in their tournament opener against England, re-takes his spot in the back-row in place of Rob Harley.
Gilchrist claims "he can't wait for Saturday" and Johnson is hopeful that his team can end the campaign on a winning note. "We have made some progress in this championship and it would be ideal to cement that by a winning performance in Paris," Johnson said. "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. I've been impressed with Gilco. 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."
Scotland: 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 (captain), Johnnie Beattie
Replacements: Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Geoff Cross, Alasdair Kellock, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson, Max Evans
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game