Townsend retains faith in Russell
Finn Russell's Scotland place was in "no doubt" against England, according to head coach Gregor Townsend, despite his below-par performances in the Six Nations.
An error-strewn performance against France saw him replaced with the game still in the balance but he been named at No 10 in an unchanged team for Saturday's visit of England. The Racing 92-bound playmaker has come in for criticism, but Townsend is firmly behind the 25-year-old.
"There was no doubt he would start," said Townsend. "He played well a lot in the France game.
"He did have a couple of kicking errors, and that happens, but a lot of the positive play we had in both halves, Finn was a part of that.
"He's our attack leader, he's an outstanding stand-off and very competitive and determined to work on the areas he needs to work on."
Meanwhile, Mathieu Bastareaud will start in France's midfield against Italy after completing his three-week ban for a homophobic slur. Jacques Brunel has made five changes, with Benjamin Fall, Remy Grosso, Hugo Bonneval and Paul Gabrillagues all coming in.