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Monday 27 March 2017

Cotter hails record-breaking Hogg ahead of France clash

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg. Photo: PA
Scotland’s Stuart Hogg. Photo: PA

Full-back Stuart Hogg is set to become the youngest player to reach 50 caps for Scotland after he was named in Vern Cotter's team to face France in tomorrow's Six Nations clash at the Stade de France.

Cotter has made just one change following Scotland's opening 27-22 victory over Ireland at Murrayfield, with Scarlets' John Barclay coming into the back row at the expense of Ryan Wilson of Glasgow Warriors, who has an elbow infection.

Hogg is set to become the 40th Scotland player to reach a half-century of caps and, at 24 years and 233 days at kick-off, will break the record currently held by team-mate Richie Gray, who made his 50th appearance at 26 during the 2015 World Cup.

"Congratulations to Hoggy on what will be a special milestone," Cotter said.

"It's a fantastic personal achievement, especially at such a young age, which is a good indication of how talented an individual he is and how important he's been to Scotland teams over the past five years."

France, who opened their campaign with a narrow 19-16 defeat by England at Twickenham, have resisted making wholesale changes to their side, with Loann Goujon replacing Damien Chouly in the sole reshuffle on the part of coach Guy Noves.

"France in Paris is a monumental challenge," added Cotter. "They have improved markedly since Noves took charge and will be smarting since their narrow defeat to England at Twickenham last weekend.

"We're their next opportunity to get their campaign up and running, and they'll be intent on throwing every part of their considerable fire power at us this Sunday," he concluded. "We will need to be at our relentless best once again."

france v scotland (tomorrow, 3.0, live rtÉ2/bbc1)

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