The French team will be out for revenge after their first half red card for prop Mohamed Haouas against Scotland back in March cost them the game and eventually a potential Six Nations title, with them losing out to England on points difference alone at the head of the table.
The Scots lost out on points difference themselves too, as they were level on points with Ireland with 14, but they’ll certainly be a lot of positives for them to take from the championship.
Gregor Townsend’s men had to recover from a slow start against Italy in their Autumn Nations Cup opener and earn a fifth straight win in a row.
That’s just the second time this century that they’ve managed that feat, although they’ll certainly not want to repeat the run of form that proceeded that 2011 team, losing their next seven matches over a six-month period.
If we take a closer look at that current winning run, it doesn’t look quite as impressive as it sounds. Three came against Italy (twice) and Georgia, while the other two came against this French outfit with 14-men for the most part and a Welsh team on a current run of six straight defeats. However, you still have to respect what they’ve done, while their home form speaks for itself.
Scotland -9 Handicap
They’re W14-L5 from their 19 matches at Murrayfield since the start of 2017, as those five defeats came against impressive sides in New Zealand (22-17), South Africa (26-20), Ireland (22-13), Wales (18-11) and England (13-6). Each of those defeats came by fewer than nine points and only the very best tend to come away with a victory.
France will be buoyant after their win against Ireland on the final weekend of the 2020 Six Nations. They weren’t able to play last weekend though after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Fijian camp meant their Autumn Nations Cup opener was called off.
Question marks were raised over whether they’d be ready to take on Wales back in late October after a seven-month layoff, and they came out firing that day, winning 38-21, so we somewhat doubt an extra week off will inhibit them.
That was in France however, and on the road, they’re a woeful W2-L12 from their 14 trips dating back to their summer tour of South Africa in 2017.
We’re a little surprised by the selection of the French team with a completely revamped front row to the one that beat Ireland, as Jean-Baptiste Gros, Camille Chat and Demba Bamba all start, while in the backs key playmaker Romain Ntamack and fullback Anthony Bouthier are out through injury.
In total, he’s made as many as eight changes and although the Scots aren’t quite on the same level as Andy Farrell’s men, we can’t be getting behind the visitors given their record on the road, especially with this rotated side.