Preview, line-ups & key stats: France v Scotland (Sat)


Six Nations
Venue: Stade de France Date: Saturday, 23 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, Connected TVs, online and BBC Sport app from 13:45 GMT; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Scotland; text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Team news & line-ups

Head coach Jacques Brunel has dropped scrum-half Morgan Parra and fly-half Camille Lopez as France seek their first victory of the 2019 Six Nations.

Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack come into the team while full-back Thomas Ramos makes his first Test start and Wenceslas Lauret returns at flanker.

Scotland have also made four changes after a further spate of injuries.

Back row Magnus Bradbury, full-back Blair Kinghorn, centre Nick Grigg and fly-half Peter Horne all come in.

Alex Allan, Zander Fagerson, Gary Graham, Darcy Graham and Adam Hastings are named on the bench as Scotland look to return to winning ways after losing to Ireland last time out.

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France: 15-Ramos, 14-Penaud, 13-Bastareaud, 12-Fickou, 11-Huget, 10-Ntamack, 9-Dupont; 1-Poirot, 2-Guirado (captain), 3-Bamba, 4-Vahaamahina, 5-Lambey, 6-Lauret, 7-Iturria, 8-Picamoles.

Replacements: 16-Chat, 17-Falgoux, 18-Aldegheri, 19-Willemse, 20-Alldritt, 21-Serin, 22-Belleau, 23-Medard

Scotland: 15-Kinghorn, 14-Seymour, 13-Grigg, 12-Johnson, 11-Maitland, 10-Horne, 9-Laidlaw (captain); 1-Dell, 2-McInally, 3-Berghan, 4-Gilchrist, 5-Gray, 6-Bradbury, 7-Ritchie 8-Strauss.

Replacements: 16-Brown, 17-Allan, 18-Fagerson, 19-Toolis, 20-Graham, 21-Price, 22-Hastings, 23-Graham.

Commentator’s notes

Andrew Cotter: Given the troubles of France, this should have been a great chance for Scotland to end a 20-year wait for victory in Paris, but the enormous injury list for Gregor Townsend now also includes the star names of Stuart Hogg, Huw Jones and Finn Russell.

And it’s the experience of Peter Horne preferred at fly-half, rather than the Russell-esque talents of Adam Hastings.

As for France? Jacques Brunel finally seems to have hit on a balanced back-line drawing heavily on an impressive Toulouse side, so could this finally be the game where a French squad full of individual talent finally delivers as a team?

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View from both camps

France head coach Jacques Brunel: “After seeing our performance against England, Scotland must be pretty confident anyway.

“We have to turn things around and show the real face of the France team.”

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend: “They are a very dangerous opponent, combining power, ambition and skill.

“Their individual talent is outstanding and, when they get things right – which has predominantly been in the Six Nations at home – they’ve played with a real collective spirit and fed off the emotion of the crowd.”

Match facts

Head-to-head

  • Scotland have won just three of 21 matches against France in this millennium.
  • Their only two victories in Paris in 25 visits since 1969 came in 1995 and 1999.

France

  • France have lost eight of their past nine Tests and won just three of their last 19.
  • They have conceded 33 tries in their last eight Test matches.
  • The only time Les Bleus have lost two Six Nations matches at home in a single year was back in 2000.

Scotland

  • Defeat by Ireland was their first Six Nations loss at Murrayfield for three years.
  • Scotland have conceded 18 penalties, more than any other side after two matches.
  • Grieg Laidlaw needs two points to pass Gavin Hastings (667) into second on Scotland’s all-time scorers list.

Match officials

Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)

Touch judges: Nigel Owens (Wales) & Andrew Brace (Ireland)

TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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