Scotland are looking to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive

France v Scotland is set to be a great contest. Scotland have had their best start to a Six Nations tournament after winning their first two opening matches. They head to Paris to face defending champions France in a bid to keep their title hopes alive.

The last time the two teams faced in Paris Scotland came away with their first away win against France in 22 years. Scottish fans will be hoping their team can do it again, not only for title hopes but to further their chances of a Grand Slam.

France, meanwhile, are seeking to get their championship back on track after they fell to defeat at the hands of Ireland. The match is being heralded as one of the best Six Nations matches of all time where world number one and two battled it out. It was a tight match but Ireland ran away with it, putting France’s title defence in jeopardy.

All is not lost for France but they will need to topple Scotland and for another team to defeat Ireland to be in with a shot of lifting the trophy. They still have a good shot and with Antoine Dupont still in firing form it sets a good platform for the World Cup later this year.

What is the team news for France v Scotland?

France have made one change to their starting team with Uini Atonio receiving a ban. The prop was cited for his high tackle on Ireland’s Rob Herring in the last round and so Mohamed Haouas comes back into the team to start.

Haouas has a past with Scotland as he was red carded against the team in 2020. The rest of the matchday 23 remains the same with Antoine Dupont leading from scrum-half.

Scotland, meanwhile, have made just one change to their starting XV. Hamish Watson comes in after recovering from a head injury. His return sees Luke Crosbie out of the matchday 23.

Stuart Hogg will feature after recovering from the head injury he suffered against Wales. And Ali Price and Sam Skinner feature in the matchday squad for the first time this tournament and start from the bench.

What have the coaches said?

France head coach Fabien Galthie said: “For four years and 33 team compositions, we have tried to have a consistency of reading, a vision that takes us over a period of four years. Our French team has won 90% of its matches, it is coming off a series of fourteen consecutive victories.

“The players who make it up, and who have been associated, have proven against different opponents and in different conditions that they are all capable of meeting all challenges. After consideration, there was no reason to change this squad composition, apart from Uini Antonio, who is suspended.”

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “There’s an excitement about the challenges ahead of us and the opportunities. But there is also a determination. We can play much better than we did in those first two games and we know our performance will have to improve if we are going to get a win in Paris.

“We think Hamish is back to full fitness. He has played with real speed in his games for Edinburgh. We obviously know what Hamish has done for us in the past and in recent games too. He was our captain in the summer and he’s got this opportunity which we know he will go and grab with two hands.”

Any interesting statistics for France v Scotland?

  • The last time the two teams played one another in Paris, Scotland beat France away for the first time in 22 years.
  • This will be the 100th time the two teams have competed against one another. France have won 57, Scotland have been victorious 39 times and three games were draws.
  • Scotland have only managed to secure away wins against England and France in the same year twice. They achieved the feat in 1926 and 2021.
  • Finn Russell has the most try assists in the competition so far with three.
  • Scotland have made 16 line breaks in the 2023 Six Nations, the most of any team, according to Opta.
France v Scotland

Finn Russell puts on a show against Wales (Getty Images)

What time is kick-off and is it on TV?

The match will kick-off at 3pm GMT on Sunday, 26 February and fans in the UK can watch the match on ITV 1.

The referee will be Nika Amashukeli (GRU) with assistants Karl Dickson (RFU) and Andrea Piardi (FIR). The television match official is set to be Ben Whitehouse (WRU).

What are the full line-ups?

France: Thomas Ramos; Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Yoram Moefana, Ethan Dumortier; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont (c); Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas, Thibaud Flament, Paul Willemse, Anthony Jelonch, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Gaetan Barlot, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Sekou Macalou, Baptiste Couilloud, Matthieu Jalibert

Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe’ Finn Russell, Ben White; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie (captain), Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, WP Nel, Jonny Gray, Sam Skinner, Jack Dempsey, Ali Price, Blair Kinghorn.

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