Skipper Hogg wants Scotland's defence to 'front up' against France

Edinburgh (AFP) –


Scotland captain Stuart Hogg has challenged his side's defence, the best in the Six Nations this season, to 'front up' to France's attack, the most potent in the competition, on Sunday.

Hogg's men have conceded just three tries in as many games so far while les Bleus's swashbuckling attack has crossed the whitewash on 11 occasions, eight more times than their Murrayfield hosts.

"We're aware of the stat that we have the best defence so far in the championship, but that means nothing now," the 27-year-old said.

"On Sunday, we need to really front up and take some confidence from that. We’re in a good place, we’ve got good philosophies and good structures, great energy and detail every single day in training," he added at his eve-of-match press conference.

The full-back's side have conceded just 32 points so far this year and stopped the Azzurri from scoring any points two weeks' ago.

"As a full-back, I feel very, very confident in the guys in front of me. Against Italy in Rome, we kept them to zero points on the scoreboard," he said.

"The negative was not getting a bonus point in terms of tries, but we kept an international team to zero points which is massive."

- 'Quality' Bouthier -

Hogg will come up against three-time France international Anthony Bouthier in the opposition number 15 shirt.

All of Bouthier's caps have come as les Bleus lead the Six Nations table and are potentially on the verge of a first Grand Slam since 2010.

"He's a quality talent. Like with the rest of the French team, he’s a huge threat so we're going to have to be on the money in defence and make sure that we front up and go after them," Hogg said.

"He's a very good player. Something I’ve looked at this week is trying to find some space in the backfield, and he covers it really well.

"If you allow these guys time and space to play, you can be in trouble," he added.

Bouthier, 27, is in just his first season in top-flight rugby with Montpellier but despite his minor Test experience Hogg said he was impressed by his displays.

"He's fairly new to the international scene but he looks like he’s enjoying himself and he’s having a huge influence on the way that France are playing," Hogg said.

After just one win from their opening three matches Hogg defied his side to play without pressure.

"I've said to the boys that we hold nothing back, let everything go, express ourselves and have some fun."