6N: France makes an offer to end 11 years of waiting, gritty Scots on the way

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PARIS (AP) – France waited 11 years to win the Six Nations, so coach Fabien Galthie doesn’t want impatience infecting his players in the title-maker against Scotland on Friday.

France prevented Wales from winning the Grand Slam last weekend by winning a dramatic 32-30 encounter to keep their own chances alive.

But Wales remain the favorites because the requirement of France is a major challenge in the final of the tournament in an empty Stade de France.

Galthie’s team must beat Scotland with a bonus point of four tries and a margin of victory of 21 points, or a win of 20 points and six tries. The last time France played eighty-one against Scotland was in 2007, but Scotland was a shadow of it. Galthie wants his players to avoid stressing over mental arithmetic while they are playing.

“The key is to play well and to win, the rest will depend on how the game goes. We must not lose sight of what we must do, ”says Galthie.

“The most important thing is to focus on our performance and our victory, our ability to build a victory. But (Scotland) also has its ambitions because if they win by eight points, they will finish second, which has not happened to them for a long time.

Scotland has not ranked above third in the Six Nations era since 2000. Second would be its best place since winning the last five nations in 1999.

It all depends on how often Gregor Townsend’s team prevents French attacks. Wales held on until the 82nd minute last Saturday when they ran out of defenders against a France at 14 following Lock Paul Willemse’s red card. Galthie believes Scotland will be more difficult to cross.

“They have the best defense in the tournament,” he said. “They are very well organized and disciplined, very tactical and strategic.”

Former French winger Vincent Clerc, who won three Six Nations including the last in 2010, urges the current squad to remain patient despite their abundance of attacking potential.

“If you do a lot of tests early on, you might get frustrated if you don’t get them,” he told the sports daily L’Equipe. “You have to tell yourself it’s okay if you’re only three points ahead at halftime. ”

Galthie turned things upside down with five changes, two of which are being applied. The team are close to the one that finished against Wales.

Romain Ntamack is on the half ball in place of Matthieu Jalibert, who suffered a jaw injury against Wales. Ntamack, one of the best players in France last year and during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, made a timely return from his own broken double jaw in December to feature again.

“He was very solid in a fun kind of game,” says Galthie. “He made good decisions and showed all his talent.”

Galthie had to replace the suspended Willemse but still changed his two locks, going with Bernard Le Roux and Swan Rebbadj.

Showing his ruthless streak, he dropped winger Teddy Thomas, called back Arthur Vincent in crosses and moved loyal Gael Fickou from center to left wing.

Scotland made four changes after routing Italy 52-10, including restoring top-choice halves Ali Price and Finn Russell, center Chris Harris and hooker George Turner. Adam Hastings returned from suspension to be the backup half-player.

This match was postponed to February 28 due to an outbreak in the French camp, but as it is now outside the international window, Scotland were limited to just five players from English clubs and were unable to bring back Lions Sean Maitland and substitute Jamie Bhatti. .

Scotland spoiled France’s Grand Slam chances – and ultimately their championship hopes – last year at Murrayfield with a 28-17 victory. But in Paris, he hasn’t beaten France for 22 years.

“As a group, we have faced a number of challenges throughout these Six Nations, it has brought us closer together,” says Townsend. “I know the players are motivated and looking forward to representing their country again on Friday night.”



France: Brice Dulin, Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon (captain), Anthony Jelonch, Swan Rebbadj, Bernard Le Roux, Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille. Reserves: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Uini Atonio, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Bouthier, Teddy Thomas.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain), Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Matt Fagerson, Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Zander Fagerson, George Turner, Rory Sutherland. Reserves: David Cherry, Oli Kebble, Simon Berghan, Alex Craig, Nick Haining, Scott Steele, Adam Hastings, Huw Jones.


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