Gilchrist to debut for Scotland against France
EDINBURGH lock Grant Gilchrist will make his Scotland debut in their final RBS 6 Nations clash against France at Paris on Saturday.
Gilchrist is set to win his first cap and comes in for the injured Richie Gray as the Scots bid to snatch a second-place finish and condemn Les Bleus, who are yet to win in this year's competition, to the wooden spoon.
The only other change to the side that was defeated 28-18 by Wales at Murrayfield last weekend sees the experienced Alasdair Strokosch replace Rob Harley at blindside flanker.
Strokosch started Scotland's campaign in the number six jersey but has missed the next three encounters due to injury and his return will be welcomed after Gray was ruled out against France due to a hamstring complaint.
The Sale forward was taken off on a stretcher during the loss against Wales and tests on the injury suggested he will be out for around eight weeks.
That has given Gilchrist the opportunity to showcase his abilities to interim head coach Scott Johnson, who said: "I've been impressed with 'Gilco'.
"I've spoken of form and future and he fits the bill in the latter category but he's also keen as mustard and we want to look at him in the company of a very good French side.
"We looked at every position in detail after last weekend and we reckoned that Strokosch's experience gave him the nod in the back-row."
Scotland will be pushing to end the tournament on a positive note, but they are already guaranteed to avoid finishing last for the second year in a row.
"We have made some progress in this championship and it would be ideal to cement that by a winning performance in Paris. But the needle is stuck in the same groove as far as my view on Saturday's Test," Johnson said.
"We've got to get our basics right. We've got to win the contact area, be disciplined in our approach and get some front-foot ball for our backs. We also want to end the championship on a high."
The wooden spoon, however, is a very real prospect for France, who have picked up just a solitary point in their opening four matches.
Their only hope of a avoiding their first campaign without a single victory since 1957 is to see off the Scots at the Stade de France.
"We're not reading much at all into where France are in the table. France are wounded right now and we expect them to come out all guns blazing on Saturday," Johnson added.
"But the target for us is to concentrate on our game and aim to be as high up the table as possible come full-time in Paris."