Finn Russell returns at fly-half for Scotland’s Six Nations trip to France on Friday night.
Russell steps in to lead Scotland’s backline after recovering from concussion, with captain Stuart Hogg reverting to full-back after playing at fly-half in last weekend’s record win over Italy.
David Cherry drops to the bench despite his two-try display against Italy, with George Turner restored at hooker, while Chris Harris and Ali Price start at centre and scrum-half respectively.
Scotland were only allowed to select five English-based players for the trip to Paris due to a deal with Gallagher Premiership bosses as this delayed match now sits outside the Test window.
The likes of Saracens wing Sean Maitland have missed out, but head coach Townsend is determined not to dwell on the absentees.
France will be gunning for the Six Nations title having denied Wales a Grand Slam last weekend, but Scotland could finish second themselves.
“The match against France provides us with an opportunity to finish the Six Nations in our highest position in its history,” said Townsend.
“This is a great opportunity for us to take on France, at home in Paris, as they also look to end the championship on a high.
“Both teams have needed to manage a short six-day turnaround and we have used this week to regroup and focus on putting in our best performance of the competition so far, which we will need to deliver if we are to leave Paris with a victory.
“As a group we have faced several challenges throughout this Six Nations, it has brought us closer together, and I know the players are motivated and looking forward to representing their country again on Friday night.”
France have made five changes to their starting line-up, with Romain Ntamack named at fly-half.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Sam Skinner, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: 16 David Cherry, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Huw Jones.
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