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Novès Must Be Wary of Envigorated Scotland

Last updated: February 10, 2017 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 15:00 (GMT)
Venue: Stade de France
Coverage: ITV, BBC
Home form: LWWLL
Away form: WLLWW
Last season: Scotland 29 – 18 France
Competition: RBS Six Nations

Both France and Scotland showed great promise in the opening weekend of this year’s Six Nations fixtures. Despite not being able to come up with the goods to put Jones’s men to the sword – and England’s 15-game winning streak – the French played with a renewed conviction that gives us reason to believe the best is still yet to come. On the flip side, Vern Cotter’s new-look Scottish team gave rugby enthusiasts exactly the kind of opening they would have been hoping for in producing what was, undoubtedly, one of their best Six Nations displays to date to overcome a vastly experienced Irish side tipped as hot second favourites to win the Championship. The French will be looking to take the wind out of the Scottish sails and build on their promising start, whilst also making amends for last year’s disappointing defeat at Murrayfield.

For all their efforts last weekend, the French still could not find a way to get the job done and overcome the defending champions, England. They were the best side for large parts of the game; they looked the more dangerous with ball hand, stretching England from side to side with their handling skills, and dominated up front and in the breakdown. RBS man of the match Louis Picamoles wreaked havoc on the English defensive line with his trademark abrasive ball carrying and Scott Spedding, who has not been in top form as of late, recaptured some of that old impetus he’s been missing in the Top 14 of late and looked dangerous on the counter attack. At the back of the scrum, Baptiste Serin and Camille Lopez looked a lot more settled than their opposite numbers Ben Youngs and George Ford, and captain Guilhem Guirado led by example and got the French over the gain line. Structure-wise, Guy Noves does not need to make any wholesale changes. What he must do is transform the current mentality his side back to a winning one. Good performances will, after all, count for nothing on the final weekend of the tournament if they continue on their losing run.

Scotland finally seem as though they have truly arrived at the Six Nations. They’ve picked up right where they left off after last year’s tournament – where they managed to overcome the French at Murrayfield on the final weekend and secure a fourth-place finish – and follow up with a memorable victory over the Irish in what was a thrilling opening game last weekend. They showed great composure after coming off second best at the scrum in the early stages of the game and didn’t panic when they got themselves into try scoring positions – something that has let them down on so many occasions in the past. This game will, however, be a different challenge altogether for Vern Cotter’s side. It could be argued that Ireland were a little complacent going into the game and were, perhaps, guilty of underestimating the Scottish: Guy Novès will not make the same mistake. If Scotland can play with the same confidence and precision as last week there is no reason why they can’t pull off another upset. To do so, however, they will have to dominate the contact area and stop the French offloading game at source whilst looking to the likes of Stuart Hogg, Richie and Jonny Gray Hamish Watson to produce repeat stand-out performances.


Statistics

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France 2016 – Present Scotland 2016 – Present
8th IRB World Ranking 7th
7 (6) (at home) Wins (2016 – Present) (away) 3 (2)
52-8 vs. Samoa Biggest win (2016 – Present) 43 – 16 vs. Georgia
0 (0) (at home) Losses (2016 – present) (away) 3 (4)
30-19 vs. Argentina Biggest Defeat (2016 – present) 35-25 vs Ireland
33 Tries Scored (2016 – present) 20
24 Tries Against (2016 – present) 21
5 Yellow Cards 5
0 Draws 0
Combined Caps
5 2016 Finishing Place 4
21 Six Nations Titles 16

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Try-scorer
13/03/2016 Six Nations Scotland 29 – 18 France Guirado 4′
05/09/2015 World Cup warm-up France 19 – 16 Scotland Semour 61′
07/02/2015 Six Nations France 15 – 8 France Fife 39′
08/03/2014 Six Nations Scotland 19 – 17 France Seymour 21′
16/03/2013 Six Nations France 23 – 16 Scotland Fofana 66′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Both teams have a lot riding on this weekend’s fixture. Alarm bells won’t quite be ringing over Paris just yet, however if the French lose again they will put themselves under tremendous pressure and will have a huge mountain to climb to stand any chance of winning their first championship since 2010. Scotland, on the other hand, are under no pressure. Despite their performance last weekend they remain the underdogs, and can, therefore, shed themselves of any nerves and really take the game to French. For this reason, we think that Scotland will prevail and force the other nations to take them seriously as genuine title contenders. Good prices for an away win are currently showing at bet365.