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France v Scotland

04 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
France v Scotland

Scotland have turned to imported talent in a bid to change their fortunes, but they will struggle to change old habits against the dangerous French

Much has changed in rugby union since the game turned professional in the summer of 1995.

Some things, however, have remained constant – and Scotland’s dire record against France is one of them.

In the two decades since, the French have triumphed over Scotland on 18 out of 21 occasions – and are currently on a nine-match winning streak dating back to 2006.

The story for the Scots is even more sobering when assessing their record in Paris, with their sole win in the French capital coming way back in 1999.

Yet heading into the Rugby World Cup, Scotland’s new-look side are making a concerted effort to turn the corner – although with the tournament just two weeks away it is perhaps more of a skid.

Given the recent dearth of talent in Scottish rugby Vern Cotter has made the bold decision to turn to players from the Southern Hemisphere, no matter how tenuous their claims to nationality.

Two of his imports start on Saturday – with SouthAfrican-born prop Willem Nel and Kiwi John Hardie set to add to their combined total of 123 minutes of Test rugby to date.

Having taken the place of stalwart John Barclay, the pressure is on Hardie in particular to show that what he lacks in Celtic roots, he more than makes up for in rugby ability.

Scotland have made five changes to the side that thrashed Italy 48-7 last weekend, with Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour making their first starts of the summer in the back line.

Having taken the places of the injured Stuart Hogg – Scotland’s star turn – and the rested Sean Lamont – their top scorer – their potency in attack is undoubtedly weaker.

Tim Visser remains however, and having bagged a brace against Italy the winger is 3/1 score a try at any time on Saturday.

France meanwhile have made just two changes to the side that dismantled England a fortnight ago, with talismanic flanker Thierry Dusautoir returning in the back row.

The French pack laid the foundations for that victory, and with this game also likely to be decided up front, France’s number eight Louis Picamoles – tipped to shine at this month’s tournament – is 16/1 to score the first try.

Scotland will also fear the flair in the French backline with Yoann Huget, who scored the first try of the game against England, 8/1 to do so again.

In Wesley Fofana, France also have a mercurial runner who thrives in open play, and the slick centre is 11/1 to score the last try.

The last four meetings between these two sides have been decided by seven points or less, and France are 6/1 to prevail by between one and five points this time around.

However, the reality is that two late consolation tries for England masked France’s dominance at the same stadium two weeks ago – and against an experimental Scotland time they ought to prevail by a much wider margin on Saturday.

They are 9/2 to triumph by 11-15 points and 11/2 to go one better by 16-20.

Despite their dominance over Scotland, the unpredictability of the French is another rugby tradition that has stood the test of time.

Yet with Ireland favourites to top Pool D, they appear to be ticking along nicely and ready to sneak under the radar.

Scotland should beware.

France v Scotland match betting