Six Nations 2016: Scotland bring in Josh Strauss & Alex Dunbar

Josh Strauss takes on the Italy defence for Scotland
Strauss, 29, will be starting only his third Test, and his first in the Six Nations
Six Nations: Scotland v France
Date: Sunday, 13 March Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, Radio Scotland, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Scotland have brought Glasgow number eight Josh Strauss and centre Alex Dunbar into their side to face France in Sunday's Six Nations match.

Strauss takes over from club-mate Ryan Wilson, a late replacement for David Denton in the 36-20 win over Italy.

Wilson drops to the bench, with Denton out of the match-day 23.

The other change sees Dunbar take over from fellow Warrior Mark Bennett, who is dropped, with Duncan Taylor moving from inside to outside centre.

Alex Dunbar
Dunbar has not played a Test for more than a year

Dunbar, 25, won the last of his 14 caps against Italy in last year's Six Nations before rupturing his knee ligaments in training.

He missed the World Cup and two further injury setbacks recently delayed his return to Test duty until he was recalled to the squad this week.

Taylor's strong showings since coming into the side against Wales mean Bennett - who was sent back to play for Glasgow last week - is the one to miss out.

"I think Duncan Taylor has played very well for us," said head coach Vern Cotter. "We're hoping that the change will pose them a few headaches to prepare for us.

"Alex hasn't played for a year and he is very, very keen and will bring the qualities that he has. It will change the way we look and change the way we play."

Six Nations schedule
Date (All times GMT)FixtureCoverage
Sat, 12 Mar (13:30 KO)Ireland v ItalyITV and BBC Radio
Sat, 12 Mar (16:00 KO)England v WalesITV and BBC Radio 5 live
Sun, 13 Mar, (15:00 KO)Scotland v FranceBBC One and BBC Radio

South Africa-born Strauss, 29, will start only his third Test for Scotland, and his first in the Six Nations, after becoming eligible just before last autumn's World Cup.

He was drafted onto the bench in Rome in the wake of Wilson's promotion to the starting line-up and impressed in a late 12-minute cameo, having played 75 minutes for Glasgow two days earlier.

"Ryan [Wilson] finished the game with a badly sprained ankle," explained Cotter. "Josh was fully fit and able to prepare over the last two weeks.

"He provides a different profile, probably a bit more carry and a bit more presence and power in the game.

"We want to start well against the French and if we can keep the ball from them and stop them accessing the game then that would be good."

Scotland are aiming for a first home Six Nations victory for three years, a run stretching back seven matches since a 12-8 victory over Ireland in February 2013.

They are also targeting a first win over France in a decade, their last victory a 20-16 victory at Murrayfield in 2006.

Scotland v France - a decade of pain
2007 - France 46-19 Scotland2008 - Scotland 6-27 France
2009 - France 22-13 Scotland2010 - Scotland 9-18 France
2011 - France 34-21 Scotland2012 - Scotland 17-23 France
2013 - France 23-16 Scotland2014 - Scotland 17-19 France
2015 - France 15-8 Scotland2015 (pre-RWC)- France 19-16 Scotland

Scotland team: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour (both Glasgow), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow), Tim Visser (Harlequins); Finn Russell (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester, capt); Al Dickinson, Ross Ford, Willem Nel (all Edinburgh); Richie Gray (Castres); Jonny Gray (Glasgow); John Barclay (Scarlets), John Hardie (Edinburgh), Josh Strauss (Glasgow).

Replacements: Stuart McInally, Rory Sutherland (both Edinburgh), Moray Low (Exeter), Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson (both Glasgow), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh), Peter Horne, Sean Lamont (both Glasgow).

Six Nations table

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