A significantly weakened French side will be looking to make it three wins from three starts when they take on Scotland on Sunday.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Six Nations log-leaders, France will be looking to retain top spot on the log when they take on the Scots at the Stade de France in the final game of Round 3. The hosts have been beset with a COVID outbreak and will field a side that will be sans a host of stars.
Will Les Bleu manage to overcome the odds or will Scotland put a dent in French hopes of claiming their first Six Nations crown since 2004?
France v Scotland
Sunday 28 February
Stade de France
To Win Match
France (-2.5) 9/10
Scotland (+2.5) 9/10
Make no bones about it, the odds will be stacked against Les Bleu this weekend. The hosts have been struggling with a COVID outbreak that will see them take to the field this weekend without big gun players such as captain Charles Ollivon, Cyril Baille, Brice Dulin and star player Antoine Dupont.
To compound matters for the French, they only managed to return to collective training this week which means they have next to no time to prepare for this clash.
There are some things playing in France’s favour, however. Firstly, they are at home so they don’t need to travel which will give them a bit more time to train. Secondly, they have a serious amount of depth in most positions, especially scrum-half where Dupont’s absence will be felt but to a less of a degree considering the back up they posses.
Les Bleu also have momentum on their side as they hammered Italy in Round 1 of the tournament and then grabbed a gutsy away win over the Irish in Round 2.
The Scots will be looking to revive their title chances by getting one over this depleted French outfit. Gregor Townsend’s side started the tournament as rank outsiders but a magnificent opening-round win over reigning champions England put them right in the hunt for Six Nations glory.
The Tartan army’s dreams of seeing their boys lift the 6 Nations trophy for the first time ever – they won the last edition of the 5 Nations back in 1999 but haven’t won the tournament since it was expanded to include Italy – were dealt a major blow after Zander Fagerson’s poor cleanout saw the prop red-carded against Wales, which lead to the Welsh coming back and beating the ‘Scots 23-24 in Round 2.
Unlike France, Scotland aren’t dealing with COVID issues but they do have a couple injuries and suspension with Fagerson out for four games due to his red card offence and promising young centre Jamie Redpath as well as back-row duo Gary Graham and Blade Thomson out of this one through injury.
Verdict: France 7/10
France are missing a whole host of players but I reckon they’ll manage to sneak a win on home soil as there’s great depth in French rugby at the minute.
Written by Shaun Goosen.