Scots to suffer the Bleus.
Two sides who have enjoyed something of a mixed bag of a Championship to date but who, remarkably, both remain in contention for honours. Okay Scotland would have to win their final two matches (they finish away to Wales) by cricket scores but mathematically (despite their -40 points difference) cannot yet be ruled out.
The home side, on the back of their last-minute drop-goal victory in Rome, have shuffled their pack again with Scotland head coach Scott Johnson recalling skipper Kelly Brown. This is the same Brown who began the Championship as national captain before being dropped out of the squad completely for the their two subsequent matches.
Johnson rather cryptically said of the recall: “I think Saturday is a game that will really suit Kelly. Unlike other sides in the competition, France play above the ground a bit and there will be a lot of mauling.” It remains to be seen whether Johnson is some sort of mind guru or one of the great bluffers in world rugby. Saturday should tell a lot.
France, meanwhile, were inexplicably bad against Wales and are now missing their three strongest performers in this year’s campaign – injured duo Wesley Fofana and Yannick Nyanga as well as the dropped (for petulance) Louis Picamoles. Surely the visitors are primed for disaster? Or as is their wont, a stunning performance? With the French, you never really can tell.
Once thing for sure is that they can’t possibly be as inept as they were in Cardiff, especially against what is widely regarded as an inferior Scottish side.
Scotland have suffered back-to-back home defeats at Murrayfield but have not lost three in a row at home in the Championship since 2007/2008. That said Scotland have only beaten France once in their last 15 games.
France may have slipped badly but they are a better side than Scotland (who are still struggling for tries) and have more than enough firepower, even without firing on all cylinders.
Take France (-10.5) at 6/5 to turn up with all the Gallic indifference they can muster before cutting loose for long enough to secure the scores needed to clinch the match. Then watch as they depart for Paris for a potential title-decider against Ireland with a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders as if to say ‘What was all the fuss about?’.
Kick off is at 5pm, tomorrow, Saturday, March 8th. Have a bet on Scotland V France on our rugby betting page.