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Scotland v France and Ireland v Italy Team News

Scotland and Ireland have named their teams for their final Six Nations matches against France and Italy respectively. Scotland have made two changes to the side that lost to Wales with Ireland also making two from the side that drew 13-13 with France at the weekend.

Scotland bring Grant Gilchrist into the second row, the Edinburgh lock will be winning his first Scotland cap as he replaces Richie Gray who tore his hamstring against Wales last week.

Scotland’s other change is also in the forwards with Alasdair Strokosch making his first start in the tournament since the opening game against England. He comes in for Robert Harley who drops out of the squad altogether.

Ireland meanwhile make both of their changes in the backline. Craig Gilroy comes back onto the right wing in place of the injured Fergus McFadden, while Brian O’Driscoll, Peter O’Mahony, Luke Marshall, Connor Murray and Donnacha Ryan all recover from knocks they suffered at the weekend.

The big news for Ireland though is the return of Jonny Sexton at fly half. He starts ahead of Paddy Jackson who drops down to the bench. It is Sexton’s first game since he had to leave the field injured against England in the second round of Championship.

Scotland’s opponents, France, have also named their side and the big story is the return of Matheiu Bastareaud to the centres in place of Florian Fritz.

The only other changes come in the second row and back row where Antoine Claassen and Sebastien Vahaamahina make their first starts. Classen replaces Yannick Nyanga at flanker while Vahaamahina replaces Christophe Samson in the second row.

Italy have made three changes, with both pros being replaced and a change in the back row. Martin Castogivanni is forced out with a thigh injury, Leonardo Cittadini replaces him at tighthead, while at loosehead Andre lo Cicero comes in for Alberto Di Marchi. Simone Favaro replaces Robert Barbieri at openside.

Teams

Scotland

15. Stuart Hogg 14. Sean Maitland 13. Sean Lamont 12. Matt Scott 11. Tim Visser 10. Duncan Weir 9. Greig Laidlaw; 1. Ryan Grant 2. Ross Ford 3. Euan Murray 4. Grant Gilchrist 5. Jim Hamilton 6. Alasdair Strokosch 7. Kelly Brown (c) 8. Johnnie Beattie.

Replacements: 16. Dougie Hall 17. Moray Low 18. Geoff Cross 19. Alastair Kellock 20. Ryan Wilson 21. Henry Pyrgos 22. Ruaraidh Jackson 23. Max Evans.

France

15. Huget 14. Clerc 13. Bastareaud 12. Fofana 11. Medard 10. Michalak 9. Parra; 1. Domingo 2. Kayser 3. Mas 4. Vahaamahina 5. Maestri 6. Claassen 7. Dusautoir (c) 8. Picamoles.

Replacements: 16. Guirado 17. Debaty 18. Ducalcon 19. Samson 20. Nyanga 21. Machenaud 22. Trinh-Duc 23. Fritz or Fickou.

Ireland

15. Rob Kearney 14. Craig Gilroy 13. Brian O’Driscoll 12. Luke Marshall 11. Keith Earls 10. Jonny Sexton 9. Connor Murray; 1. Cian Healy 2. Rory Best 3. Mike Ross 4. Mike McCarthy 5. Donnacha Ryan 6. Peter O’Mahony 7. Sean O’Brien 8. Jamie Heaslip (c).

Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin 17. David Kilcoyne 18. Stephen Archer 19. Devon Toner 20. Iain Henderson 21. Paul Marshall 22. Paddy Jackson 23. Luke Fitzgerald.

Italy

15. Andrea Masi 14. Giovanbattista Venditti 13. Gonzalo Canale 12. Gonzalo Garcia 11. Luke McLean 10. Luciano Orquera 9. Edoardo Gori; 8. Sergio Parisse (c) 7. Simone Favaro 6. Alessandro Zanni 5. Joshua Furno 4. Quintin Geldenhuys 3. Leonardo Cittadini 2. Leonardo Ghiraldini 1. Andrea Lo Cicero.

Replacements: 16. Davide Giazzon 17. Michele Rizzo 18. Alberto De Marchi 19. Antonio Pavanello 20. Francesco Minto 21. Paul Derbyshire 22. Tobias Botes 23. Tommaso Benvenuti.

* Ireland have been forced to make a late change, Jonny Sexton has torn a tendon in his left foot and will be replaced at fly half by Paddy Jackson, Ian Madigan will come onto the bench as replacement 10.

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