Six Nations 2019: Why France and Scotland are more similar than they seem

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw performs for French aspect Clermont and became man of the match on this fixture final yr
Six Worldwide locations Championship: France v Scotland
Venue: Stade de France Date: Saturday, 23 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 are residing sports extra, BBC Radio Scotland 92-95FM & the BBC Sport web narrate and app.

On the face of it, there would possibly perhaps be not in truth primary to link Scotland and France as rugby countries.

One is a country with two authentic teams and no championship title for two decades. The diversified is home to the wealthiest league on this planet and winners of three Mountainous Slams since their opponents’ final drank from the trophy.

Nonetheless dig relatively of deeper and likewise you obtain the Six Worldwide locations opponents section extra than that it is likely you’ll delight in…

Attacking elan

Okay, so that isn’t very the not likely white-knuckle-rugby, ******-from-anywhere France of yesteryear, but the French recreation stays synonymous with adventure and valorous.

France has given the sport some of its most riveting attackers and superb, hardest characters. Serge Blanco, Philippe Sella, Jean-Pierre Rives, Sebastian Chabal – these blokes had been box-field of labor.

Under Vern Cotter, then Gregor Townsend, Scotland own harnessed that elan, playing at breathless tempo, operating from deep, flooding channels with supporting players and handing over all-superstar off-loads.

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This French lot are extra about brawn than brain with their massive pack, but would possibly perhaps perhaps perhaps Jacques Brunel’s unusual-peek, youthful backline engender some extra tantalizing fare on Saturday?

Scotland can’t match the French pink meat but it is likely you’ll perhaps guess they’ll lift a complete lot of joie de vivre to Paris.

Townsend’s French connections

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend spent five seasons within the French high flight

Townsend is one among a handful of his generation to play in every of the arena’s high leagues.

That globe-trotting occupation gave him a wealth of experience and helped him harvest a range of ideas for the instructing voyage that got right here subsequent.

The Scotland head coach tells some riotous tales from his days in France, the keep he spent five seasons between Brive, Castres and Montpellier, and his sharpest of rugby brains became keenly appreciated.

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“Our coach [at Brive] became Laurent Seigne and he became pushing the forwards against the wall and the skilled ones had been pushing him again and it became head-on-head and shirts ripped and blood.

“I became sitting there thinking, ‘Authorized, that’s what the forwards enact, finest ample’. Earlier than our subsequent home recreation, Seigne talks to myself and my partner within the centre and says, ‘Right this moment time, you is seemingly to be forwards’.

“He shouts for each of us to salvage on the bottom and for our pack to dash over the tip of us so we knew what it felt safe to be at the underside of a ruck. This became minutes outdated to we played a recreation. I became lying there, not vivid whether to snicker or command.”

Struggles on the avenue

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Relive the five tries in Paris that gave Scotland victory in 1999

Scotland, after all, final obtained in Paris in 1999. Right here is presumably their easiest chance to enact so since. They’ve obtained as soon as in Dublin for the reason that flip of the millennium, final beat Wales in Cardiff 17 years ago, and likewise you must return to 1983 to obtain Scotland’s final Calcutta Cup triumph south of the border. It is a sorry, sorry away file.

France safe comparably bleak recent sort on the avenue. Les Bleus final obtained some distance from home against Italy within the 2017 championship. In 31 away Exams since 2013 – discounting the 2015 Rugby World Cup – they own obtained handiest four.

Two of those victories got right here against the Azzurri, one on a summer tour of Argentina, and the diversified at Murrayfield.

Russell the rapscallion

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Gaze: Russell’s easiest Scotland moments

There is one thing wonderfully French about the ability Finn Russell performs his rugby. Utterly care-free, fully confident – a strutting rapscallion with a radiant capacity-keep of residing.

Errors? Decided, he makes them. And yes, they’ll also be maddening. Discontinuance they dent his self assurance? No longer one bit.

Russell himself is flying in France, revelling in his role as superstar recruit for Racing 92. Already, his highlights reel for the Parisians is spectacular and his financial institution balance will be pretty enviable too.

He became serious about every of Scotland’s five tries against Italy on the outlet weekend and laid on Sam Johnson’s gorgeous counter-****** salvage against Ireland with an interception and a sexy, nonchalant off-load from the bottom.

Nonetheless, playing in France has its pitfalls too. While most of his global team-mates rested throughout the fallow week, Russell played, scored a strive to became concussed on accountability for Racing in their loss to Toulouse.

And so Scotland are without their play-maker supreme on Saturday – a large blow.

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Can you name the final Scotland team to own interaction in Paris?

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