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Laidlaw leads Scotland fightback to keep title hopes alive
12 February 2018, 01:04 | Louis Holland
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw will return to the starting line-up for his side's game with France
France captain Guilhem Guirado said that Les Bleus will not win a game in the Six Nations if they don't show more discipline after a 32-26 defeat by Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Games between these two teams in the competition have seen an average of 37 aggregate points scored per game, the lowest scoring fixture in the competition's history.
The teams then exchanged a pair of penalties apiece as Machenaud and Baptiste Serin knocked over for France, with Laidlaw twice responding for Scotland.
Scotland had been tipped as a dark horse for the championship title on the back of their November displays - they ran New Zealand close and ripped Australia apart by record margins. Scotland have won seven of their last eight home games with the only defeat coming against the All Blacks. Accuracy, confidence and precision must be present in spades.
Gregor Townsend's side were hammered by Wales in Cardiff last week after an impressive autumn series and will need to pick themselves up for Sunday's clash. "So we're approaching it as we'd normally approach playing France: they're a very good team".
One of those returning to the side is Greig Laidlaw, in place of Ali Price, who struggled throughout in Cardiff. The 32-year-old was added to the squad after Matthieu Jalibert's knee ligament injury and his partnership with Maxime Machenaud will be critical.
"I think both teams are going to go into the game having lost the first game so we need to win".
"To do that we need to out-work the opposition and be more accurate in a number of aspects of our play".
Asked if his players were angry about the sorry performance in Wales, Townsend said: "Yes when they see the pictures again, and they see nearly by second nature you defend in a certain way and get into a flow that you're looking at what opposition are doing and get the right spacing when you see the opposition, and we didn't do that".
Brunel, who has also drafted in centre Geoffrey Doumayrou and No 8 Marco Tauleigne, guided Italy to a 22-19 victory against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2015.
"There's a certain expectation for the French national team to play a certain way and there's certain fundamentals in the their game", said Townsend, who spent five years as a player in the Top 14. "In principle, we had no reason to change Henry Chavancy, but I want the group to be alive". The 32-year-old will be making his first worldwide appearance for six years at Murrayfield. "Lionel can relieve us with his kicking if the pressure is strong".
Scotland team: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Peter Horne (all Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Saracens); Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont-Auvergne); Gordon Reid (London Irish), Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan; Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh Rugby), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors); John Barclay (Scarlets, captain), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors).
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