Laidlaw The Hero As Scotland Defeat France In Pulsating Six Nations Clash

Gregor Townsend oversees Scotland training

"It always helps in decision-making that he (Russell) can speak to someone on the field with that amount of experience", Townsend said of the 59-cap Laidlaw, who joined French club Clermont from Gloucester past year.

Simon Mail previews the second weekend of the Six Nations with Scotland hosting France and Ireland taking on Italy.

Sportsmail's GLEN WILLIAMS will be bringing you all the live action with updates from RORY KEANE at Murrayfield. Those who witnessed Scotland's win over Australia and their impressive performance against New Zealand in November have spoken about a special atmosphere, and the Scots will need that if they are to deliver on their potential.

"France will be very physical and their defence is very good", he said.

One of those returning to the side is Greig Laidlaw, in place of Ali Price, who struggled throughout in Cardiff. Lionel Beauxis replaces Matthieu Jalibert at fly-half, Marco Tauleigne comes in for Kevin Gourdon and Geoffrey Doumayrou starts in place of Henry Chavancy. The hosts can be expected to come out firing in attack after the criticism they received this week and look worth support to cover a three-point first-half handicap at Evens.

Newcastle Falcons tighthead prop Jon welsh is replaced by Simon Berghan while his Edinburgh teammate Grant Gilchrist is preferred to Ben Toolis in the second-row, and Ryan Wilson beats Cornell Du Preez to the No 8 shirt, with the latter dropped from the match-day squad completely. "The overriding emotion is that we didn't perform anywhere near as well as we should have done".

"He ran a couple of plays there this morning".

"Greig has got a lot of experience".

British and Irish Lion Laidlaw, who suffered a leg fracture in October, will make his first start since the corresponding fixture in Paris last March, having been on the bench last week.

France again turned up the pressure but all they got was another Serin penalty as the Scots stood firm through 20 bruising phases - but again Scotland battled back with Laidlaw knocking over two kicks to put them level with 16 minutes left.

This week Jacques Brunel lifted the lid on his selection decisions.

"But this is an excellent group of players that have shown that over the previous year". That can take a lot out of them, if that's the strategy they want to play.

Right winger Teddy Thomas crossed for two tries in the opening 27 minutes to help the French to a 20-14 lead at halftime at Murrayfield. There were too many holes and they cut through us a bit too easily, so it was a combination of the two, I think.

What times does Scotland vs France kick off?

But away form has always been Scotland's Achilles heel in the Six Nations and their Championship started with a 34-7 thrashing by Wales in Cardiff last Saturday, where only Pete Horne's late try saw Townsend's men avoid the embarrassment of failing to score any points at all. And if that game plan can work against the Australians, it can work against anyone in world record, including, dare we say, Jones' England.

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