By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 14/08/19 12:18pm
Scotland have announced their team to face France on Saturday with Stuart McInally returning to captain an Edinburgh-dominated XV.
He partners tighthead prop Simon Berghan and Edinburgh’s new signing Jamie Bhatti in the front-row, while Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis return to start in the second-row as they did at Twickenham.
Vice-captain John Barclay and Jamie Ritchie complete the capital club’s contribution in the back-row with Blue Bulls number eight Josh Strauss starting at the tail of the pack.
Glasgow Warriors stand-off Adam Hastings is handed his first start since the 2018 Autumn Test victory over Argentina, alongside clubmate and scrum-half Ali Price, while a new-look centre partnership of Duncan Taylor and Glasgow’s Huw Jones man the midfield for the first time.
New Exeter full-back Stuart Hogg anchors the back-three with fellow Hawick man Darcy Graham and Sale Sharks’ Byron McGuigan on the wing.
As well as Saturday’s clash in Nice, Scotland also take on France at Murrayfield on August 24, then face Georgia home and away as they ramp up their preparations for the World Cup.
Head coach Gregor Townsend said: “A huge amount of work has gone in throughout the past two months in order to deliver our best level of performance in the Rugby World Cup.
“These four Tests are a vital part of that process in terms of testing our systems and combinations but also in seeing which players put their best foot forward when it comes to selection for the final 31-man group going to Japan next month.
“As a coaching group we’re pleased to be able to take a strong squad across to France for this opening Test. We’ve enjoyed seeing the players working hard and becoming closer as a team in our camp.
“We’ve been impressed by the quality of play they’ve delivered in training but fundamentally it’s been about preparing to play. We’re now very much looking forward to seeing our men perform in these Test matches.”
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price; 1 Jamie Bhatti, 2 Stuart McInally (C), 3 Simon Berghan, 4 Ben Toolis, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 John Barclay, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 8 Josh Strauss.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Blair Kinghorn.