Scotland v France preview: Team news, kick-off time, key battles, line-ups and stats for the Six Nations clash
Scotland host France in the RBS Six Nations on Sunday: 15:00 kick-off
Vern Cotter has made two changes to the side that beat Italy with Josh Strauss and Alex Dunbar coming in
Les Bleus have brought in Francois Trinh-Duc at fly-half as one of six changes to the side that lost to Wales
History will be against Vern Cotter’s Scotland when they host France this Sunday at Murrayfield in the Six Nations.
In 16 Six Nations meetings Scotland have only ever beaten France once, an upset win back in 2006 in a year when les Bleus would go on to win the title.
At that time France were still regularly challenging for the title, something they have not managed for a while.
Vern Cotter has made two changes to the Scotland side that beat Italy with Josh Strauss and Alex Dunbar coming into the starting XV.
Strauss replaces Ryan Wilson at number eight and Dunbar is chosen at inside centre meaning Mark Bennett drops out.
Meanwhile, France have brought in Francois Trinh-Duc at fly-half as one of six changes to the side that lost to Wales.
Gael Fickou, Scott Spedding and Wesley Fofana are also selected in the back division, while Yacouba Camara and Yoann Maestri come into the pack.
Scotland has lost their last ten consecutive games against France in all competitions.
They have lost 15 of their 16 Six Nations matches against France.
Vern Cotter’s men have lost their last seven Six Nations encounters at Murrayfield and have never before lost eight in a row at home in the 133-year history of the Championship.
They have only won back-to-back games twice in the Six Nations (2001 & 2013).
France has lost seven of their last ten away Six Nations matches (W2, D1).
The French have managed three Six Nations wins in a single tournament just once in the last four years (2014).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Scotland: Finn Russell
There is something about Russell that makes him a fine player to watch. The 23-year-old was at the centre of Scotland’s vibrancy and swagger at the Rugby World Cup with his all-around kicking, ability to ghost past defenders and willingness to work hard at the breakdown making him vital to Vern Cotter’s plans during the Six Nations. When he is strutting, the Dark Blues can do anything.
France: Rabah Slimani
Slimani has established himself as a regular since making his debut in 2013, it’s an exciting new era where he has an opportunity to help France re-establish themselves as one of the top sides in Europe. Following the retirements of a few major players, it’s time for the prop to stand up and lead Les Bleus from the front.
2015: France won 19-16 in Paris
2015: France won 15-8 in Paris
2014: France won 19-17 at Murrayfield
2013: France won 23-16 in Paris
2012: France won 23-17 at Murrayfield
2011: France won 34-21 in Paris
2010: France won 18-9 at Murrayfield
2009: France won 22-13 in Paris
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Sean Lamont
France: 15 Scott Spedding,14 Virimi Vakatawa, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Wesley Fofana, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Vincent Pelo, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Sébastien Bézy, 22 Jules Plisson, Maxime Médard
Date: Sunday, March 13
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)