Scotland will host France at Murrayfield in Round 2 of the 2018 Six Nations, both teams coming after losses in the opening round.
The Scots entered the tournament with high hopes after having an excellent 2017, including playing some great rugby in the recent year-end Internationals, almost beating New Zealand in November. Their progress over the last few years has been undeniable, but all of that excitement and confidence was shattered last week, when Wales handed them a surprising 24 point beating. While it`s true that Scotland didn`t deserve to lose by that kind of difference, the bad result remains and it was definitely disappointing.
France entered the tournament with a new coach (Jacques Brunel), and with the idea to rebuild after having a dreadful 2017. They failed to win in the last 7 games of last year and that winless run was stretched to 8 when Ireland beat them 15-13 in Paris last week. However, France put on an inspired performance in that game, playing above expectations, and only a last minute wonder drop goal by the Irish denied France a famous victory.Bet on Scotland vs. France and claim your 100% (100 Eur) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news & lineups:
Scotland continues to struggle with injuries to many of their forwards, as it was also the case in the recent year end Internationals and last week against Wales. The Scots will make 6 changes to the lineup that lost in Wales, just one of them due to injury.
France also continues to miss a few key players like Camille Lopez, and the French also have 3 new injuries – all of them sustained last week against Ireland. They will make 3 changes to last week`s lineup.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Gordon Reid
France: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Rémi Lamerat, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Maxine Machenaud, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
France played better rugby than Scotland last week and some are giving Les Bleus a real shot at an upset here. But fact is Scotland is the better team and one bad day at the office does not define them – especially as they weren`t quite as bad as the score suggests against Wales. Also, playing in Cardiff is always difficult, and Scotland will be buoyed by returning at home. That should give them a big boost and help them revert to their usual level of play.
Scotland was priced at 1.30 – 1.35 when odds for this match first went out, but after last week`s results the odds have now gone up to 1.45 – 1.50 for the Scots. One match should definitely not have such a big impact on the odds, so I actually think there`s value to be taken on the hosts.
The key for Scotland here will be to get the ball quickly out of the ruck and launch their devastating wing attacks, as opposed to getting involved in a physical battle, a case in which France would have the advantage. The weather should be of big help to the Scots in their quest to play fast paced rugby, as a cool and clear day is expected – perfect conditions for a fast running game.
One thing that works in favor of France is the H2H record. The French have won 11 out of the last 12 meetings against Scotland, being always able to create problems for the Scots. However, most of those H2H matches took place when Scotland was going through very tough times. The situation is reversed now, so the historic H2H results shouldn`t have such a big impact.
In the last two meetings between the Nations, Scotland won by 11 points at home (2016) and lost by 6 points in France (2017).
Look for Scotland to come out vastly improved compared to what happened last week in Cardiff, and France is likely to show less intensity than last week, as they won`t be in Paris anymore. This will be the first big test on the road for this new look French side, and it will be difficult for them to deal with Scotland’s own team chemistry, speed and attacking prowess.
Home court advantage should be a deciding factor, and Scotland should come out with the win. My tip is Scotland to win and I would have priced the Scots at no more than 1.40 here, so the current odds call for a max stakes bet as far as I`m concerned. Prediction: Scotland – France 28 – 21.