An agonising defeat away to Wales last week was a dagger in Scottish hearts, and while they’re certainly not out of the running to claim their first Six Nations title, it would require a victory over tournament favourites France at Murrayfield this weekend, and that would be a humungous achievement.
France are two from two so far having beaten both Italy and Ireland, with the latter being touted as the title decider despite only being the second matchweek.
The 30-24 win means France remain the only unbeaten side this year, though they’d be foolish to underestimate this Scotland side, especially having lost to them on home soil last year.
Gregor Townsend’s side have won three of the last four meetings with Les Bleus now, and limiting matches to just those at Murrayfield, the hosts have won four of the last five.
Townsend hasn’t rung the changes here despite defeat in Cardiff as he looks to have taken far more positives than negatives from his side’s performance that day. Sam Skinner comes in for the injured Jonny Gray in second row to partner Grant Gilchrist, though that shouldn’t have too much of an effect on momentum.
France have also made just the single change after an injury to Gabin Villiere in the backline. Yoram Moefana moves to the wing to replace him with Jonathan Danty returning from injury to take his place back in the centres.
Scotland +7 Handicap
The French are on a run of six wins in eight matches since losing to the Scots last year, though both those defeats came to the Wallabies when fielding almost an entirely second string side, while five wins on the bounce now is a more accurate representation of their momentum.
They’ll be determined to avenge their defeat last year and will certainly be wary of a side that have generally had the better of them in recent encounters.
The Scots have a positive W10-L6 record from their last 16 outings at Murrayfield, and while that’s not overly impressive, they’re rarely blown away. Only one of those 16 outings saw them lose by more than seven points, with that coming last year against World Champions South Africa.
While many would put the French in a similar bracket to the Springboks at this moment in time, Scotland seem to be progressing as a side too and we’d expect them to, at the very least, make this a tough contest for their visitors.
With the handicap line sitting at seven points, we’re happy to get behind the hosts to cover it.
SCOTLAND +7 HANDICAP