Captain Stuart Hogg has revealed his “injury” in the face of France’s expectations of competing for the Six Nations title against Scotland on Friday night.
France must beat Scotland by 21 points and earn a four-try bonus point in the revamped Paris clash in order to propel Wales to the Six Nations crown.
However, Scotland can secure their second place in the Six Nations standings with an eight-point victory over Les Bleus at the Stade de France.
And Exeter full-back Hogg admitted Scotland were eager to express their frustrations with Fabien Galthie’s men over the presumption of victory perceived by the hosts.
“A lot has been said, and it’s starting to mislead me, that they need 21 points to win the title,” Hogg said.
“And I saw someone from their camp talking about them playing for the trophy.
“As a proud Scotsman, it hurt me a lot.
“There has been a lot of talk about what they need to do. But if we win by eight points, we secure our best Six Nations ranking. So that’s the motivation. ”
Scotland do not have British and Irish Lions wing Sean Maitland for Friday’s crucial meeting, which was delayed due to a previous outbreak of Covid-19 in the France squad.
Head coach Gregor Townsend was only able to select five England players due to an 11th hour deal with the game now falling outside the usual testing window.
This saw the ill-fated Saracen Maitland miss the match, leaving skipper Hogg to feel for his Test-mate.
Asked to assess the situation Scotland faces given that France had suffered from the coronavirus outbreak, Hogg shared his feelings without crossing any lines.
When asked if Scotland’s selection limits were unfair, Hogg replied: “Well, 100%, but it’s a question that makes the headlines. For me, we put the team first and make sure we get the job done first and play for these boys. .
“My opinion is the one I’ll keep to myself because I don’t want this to be a title now when there are other things to focus on.
“I saw how much Sean Maitland suffered from not being involved. It hurt him a lot.
“The other boys too, they’ve had a huge impact on what we’ve done in training and in matches over the last few weeks.
“So the challenge now is for us to achieve a performance of which they would be proud. We will go and play for everyone. ”
Scotland also have to do without Matt Fagerson, who was injured in training.
Nick Haining now starts at number eight, with Ryan Wilson drafted off the bench and set to win his 50th cap.
“We’re absolutely naughty for Matt, he’s been exceptional for the Six Nations for us, we really felt for him and it’s so disappointing for him,” Hogg said.
“We obviously wish him all the best in his recovery, but it’s also an opportunity for the other guys. Nick Haining is in good shape, as is Ryan Wilson.
“The challenge now is for us to make sure everything is fine before the game after the changes, but I have no doubt these guys can step in and do an equally good job. ”