Scots select Hines at six

Lions lock Nathan Hines will start on the blindside flank for Scotland when they take on France this weekend. [more]

Scots select Hines at six

Lions lock Nathan Hines will start on the blindside flank for Scotland when they take on France this weekend.

Hines switches from the second row as Ali Kellock returns to skipper Scotland alongside Glasgow clubmate Richie Gray in the boiler house.

Hines has played the vast majority of his Test career in the No4 or 5 shirt, although he did feature for the Lions in the back row as well as at lock on the 2009 tour of South Africa.

"I've got a lot of faith in the way Nathan plays with his defensive quality, but also his ball-carrying ability," said Scotland head coach Andy Robinson.

"He's playing well and that's why I'm comfortable with him playing at six.

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"Added to that, we have Richie Gray in the second row, being able to give us extra height and skill at the lineout.

"The battle ground is going to be around the set-piece, around the fringes of driving mauls and at the rucks. It's vital we've got players who can go toe-to-toe with the French."

Scotland make three personnel changes from the November win over Samoa, with Edinburgh centre Nick De Luca replacing the injured Graeme Morrison and Max Evans taking over from Sean Lamont on the left wing, while Kellock comes in for Richie Vernon.

Northampton’s Joe Ansbro will make his first Six Nations start having featured in the autumn, while Rory Lawson beats Lions tourist Mike Blair to the scrum-half berth in the continued absence of another Lion, Chris Cusiter.

Scotland head into the Six Nations in confident mood after wins over Ireland, Argentina (twice), South Africa and Samoa in their last six internationals.

But the Scots have won just once at the Stade de France – in their Five Nations Championship-winning season of 1999 – and they take on a French side who are seen as favourites to repeat last year’s Six Nations triumph.

"It's about delivering an 80-minute performance, letting our performance do the talking," added Robinson.

"There's been a real sharp focus, it's now down to the performance on Saturday. We've got to make sure we turn up on Saturday prepared to front up and take the game to France.

"What's key for me is that we understand we're in control of what we're about, to go to France and be in control.

"Sometimes teams go to France and give control to France and allow them to dominate. We've got to take control of this game."

Scotland (vs France in Paris, Saturday, 5pm GMT)

15 Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais)
14 Nikki Walker (Ospreys)
13 Joe Ansbro (Northampton Saints)
12 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh)
11 Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors)
10 Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues)
9 Rory Lawson (Gloucester)

1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh)
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh)
3 Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons)
4 Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors)
5 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors, captain),
6 Nathan Hines (Leinster)
7 John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors)
8 Kelly Brown (Saracens)

Replacements

16 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors)
17 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors)
18 Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors)
19 Ross Rennie (Edinburgh)
20 Mike Blair (Edinburgh)
21 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors)
22 Sean Lamont (Scarlets)

NB Bold denotes Lion

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