Scotland kick off their 2015 Six Nations campaign in Paris tomorrow against Philippe Saint-André’s France.
Scotland have not won in France for 16 years but head coach Vern Cotter will be desperate to get the campaign off to a positive start.
France team news
Philippe Saint-André has named Rory Kockott in the French starting 15 for the first time, to play at scrum-half alongside Camille Lopez who impressed during the Autumn tests.
Wesley Fofana and Mathieu Bastareaud bring plenty of experience at centre while Scotland will also need to be wary of the pace of Teddy Thomas, Yoann Huget and Scott Spedding, who all start.
Scotland team news
Scotland make just two alterations to the side which scored five tries against hapless Tonga at Rugby Park in November for the Dark Blues’ opening RBS 6 Nations clash with France in Paris.
Euan Murray takes Geoff Cross’ slot in the front row, while centre Mark Bennett comes into the team in place of Sean Lamont.
Did you know?
- France last won the Six Nations in 2010
- Scotland last won the tournament in 1999 (then as the Five Nations)
- France and Scotland shared the Five Nations crown in 1986
- France are 6/1 to win the overall Six Nations
- Scotland are 28/1 to win the overall Six Nations
France coach Philippe Saint-André says
“For us, it is a big year, just like for all the other countries,” Saint-André says. “We are very focussed to start the first game against Scotland at Stade de France, because very often the first game sets the tempo of the competition.
“We respect all the other teams, but we are not scared of any team. At the moment there is a good atmosphere in the camp and confidence is back after some good games in November. I hope that you will expect the best of the French team this Six Nations.”
Scotland coach Vern Cotter says
“We’re feeling excited. It’s nice to be able to see the two Gray brothers – Jonny and Richie – together again and Euan Murray comes in too. The tight forward battle will be critical on Saturday.
“France are a big, heavy forward pack and I think they anticipate they will dominate us, so really our guys have got to roll their sleeves up and try to find parity in the tight exchanges, get ball and free up.
“Tommy Seymour has been playing really well this year, as has Stuart Hogg. Tim Visser gets an opportunity and Mark Bennett is back in there. Alex Dunbar played some great rugby during the Autumn series so we need to get them some ball.
“In the half-backs, Greig Laidlaw is a very experienced player and he has got Finn Russell under his wing.
“They have been working hard on game strategy and game management and they will be assisted by others.
“The guys want to do well. It’s been a long time between drinks – 16 years – and they see that as a challenge
“Whatever happens I’m sure they will acquit themselves well. They are all very proud to pull on that jersey.”
Spedding, Huget, Bastareaud, Fofana, Thomas, Lopez, Kockott; Menini, Guirado, Slimani, Pape, Maestri, Dusautoir (capt), Chouly, Le Roux.
Hogg, Seymour, Bennett, Dunbar, Visser, Russell, Laidlaw; Dickinson, Ford, Murray, R Gray , J Gray, Harley, Cowan, Beattie.
Kayser, Atonio, Arous, Taofifenua, Goujon, Parra, Tales, Lamerat.
Brown, Reid, Cross, Hamilton, Strokosch , Hidalgo-Clyne, Horne, Fife.