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Scotland vs France: the experts' view

Text by Thibault LIEURADE , Mark OWEN , Emmanuel VERSACE

Latest update : 2010-02-06

Ahead of the Scotland-France match on Sunday at Murrayfield, FRANCE 24 spoke to former internationals and top sports journalists from both countries to get the experts' view on this key clash.

Didier Camberabero, France fly-half between 1982 and 1991, 36 caps.

"A surprise always occurs in the Six Nations, and it often happens in the first game. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen at Murrayfield on Sunday! For this game, French coach Marc Lièvremont has trained with the team to focus on passing. Usually, Les Bleus try to play in the same style as their opponents, and not with their legendary ‘French flair’. That will not be the case this time. It would be great if they could score five tries playing the French way. But Les Bleus need to be aware that the Scots are physically very strong and will come onto the pitch with lots of enthusiasm."

Gavin Hastings played for Scotland 61 times between 1986 and 1995, and is remembered as a marauding full back and captain.

“The best time to play France is at home and in the first game. They get better as the tournament goes on. We have to try knocking them off their perch. We have to try to cause some self doubt in their team and that time is now. We have a strong scrum, a good line out; we’re capable of competing really well. But we need backs capable of scoring tries… As for France, they are exciting, frustrating, disappointing, and brilliant; choose any combination of those words… France is the most maddening team to watch and I feel for their supporters at times... They have a lot of talent. Why don’t they just go out and play with all that talent and flair?”

Jérôme Prévot, journalist at rugby newspaper Midi Olympique

"With Scotland, it’s a case of history repeating itself: every year, everybody thinks they’ll be different, but it just doesn’t happen. From time to time, they play a great game, but they still remain far from their best. As for France, the squad has ups and downs, but individually, the players are clearly superior to the Scots. There’s no doubt France is the hot favorite."

Kevin Ferrie, rugby journalist at the Herald Scotland newspaper

“France has always had a good chance. Andy Robinson (Scotland coach) knows it will be very important to get a good start against them. The Heineken Cup showed that French teams must be put under pressure right from the start, because they tend to get stronger as the competition progresses. Scotland is always very optimist and under Andy Robinson the squad has become more confident. Unlike Matt Williams (Scotland coach from 2003-2005), Robinson knows the Scottish game, the players and what to tell them for their confidence. As for Mathieu Bastareaud, he focuses on physical intimidation. He seems to embody the spirit of this French team.”

Date created : 2010-02-04

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