Phillipe Saint-Andre will be hopeful of another good display this weekend when France takes on Scotland in their final warm- up encounter prior to the World Cup.
This Saturday’s showdown at the Stade de France is a chance for Les Bleus to record back-to-back wins following their triumph over England. The Scots’ also enter the game in form following two consecutive successes against Italy.
And although the World Cup squads have now been submitted, Saint-Andre and Vern Cotter both still have significant decisions to make before the two respective sides kick off their campaigns.
The French head coach will be pleased to welcome back Skipper Thierry Dusautoir, who has put his knee injury in the rear-view mirror to lead his country this weekend. The only other change to France’s starting XV sees Alexandre Flanquart come in for Yoann Maestri, who is rested to allow him to rest due to his bruised ribs.
Scotland also has players returning from injury with Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour recovering to take their place while Centre Matt Scott comes in to start alongside Mark Bennett in the backs.
Richie Gray is also partnered with brother Jonny in the locks as Cotter prepares his side to cope with a very physical French team in Paris.
France has had the upper hand against Scotland in recent meetings between the two. They won the latest clash between the pair when they narrowly over the came the dark blues 15-8 in Paris during the Six Nations in the spring.
The Scots’ in fact haven’t beaten Les Blues since in Edinburgh nine year’s ago in 2006, and you have to go back to 1999 for their last victory in the French capital.
Les Bleus will kick off their World Cup campaign on September 19th against the Azzurri at Twickenham while Scotland begin their tournament four days later against Japan at Kingsholm.
Coming into the game on the back of a triumph over England, Saint-Andre has made only two changes to his physical starting XV, which you’d expect to be full of confidence. Scotland has equally chosen a heavy-duty starting team and will without doubt make France fight for every point they score. Although this will not be easy, the hosts probably should still just edge past Cotter’s men.
France by 10 points
France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Damien Chouly, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Nicolas Mas, 19 Bernard le Roux, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Rémi Talès, 23 Alexandre Dumoulin.
Scotland: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 David Denton, 7 John Hardie, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Alasdair Strokosch, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Sean Lamont.