Scotland’s 2021 Guinness Six Nations campaign finally comes to a close in the Stade de France on Friday night as they seek a first win in Paris since 1999 – and it’s live on TV.
The match has been rescheduled from February 26, the original date postponed due a Covid-19 outbreak in the French training camp that affected 11 players and backroom staff, including head coach Fabien Galthie.
What TV channel is France v Scotland on?
John Inverdale will anchor the coverage, Olive and Mabel’s dad Andrew Cotter is on commentary with former Scotland captains Chris Paterson, John Barclay and Andy Nicol on analysis.
There’s also live commentary from 7.30 pm on BBC Five Live and BBC Radio Scotland.
What’s at stake in France v Scotland clash?
France can still win the championship after their last-gasp victory to deny Wales a Grand Slam last week. But they need a 21-point margin of victory – including at least four tries – to overhaul the Welsh and deny Alun Wyn Jones another championship title.
However, an eight-point margin of victory will give Scotland outright second place in the championship, their best finish since Five Nations became Six in 2000.
What the coaches are saying
Scotland’s Gregor Townsend: “If we’re able to replicate our performance from Twickenham, we’ll certainly be in with a shout of winning the game. That was the best I’ve seen us play.
“France could go out and open up their game. They have played some really good attacking rugby – but it’s based on a long kicking game and solid defence.
“We’ve shown that we can play very well away from home. We’ve played France a couple of times in the past 12 months and they’ve both been close games.”
France’s Fabien Galthie: “Scotland have the best defence in the Championship. They’re very well organised, tactically and strategically good.
“Intelligent as well. They’re the best right now. Last year they did well defensively too.”
Scotland’s selection has been compromised because the game has been rescheduled outwith the statutory international player release week.
A deal thrashed out with Six Nations and English clubs allowed only five releases for the game, which meant usual starting wing Sean Maitland was left out.
The Scots made several changes from the experimental team that beat Italy 52-10 last week, restoring Finn Russell, Ali Price, Chris Harris and George Turner. A late injury to Matt Fagerson emans Nick Haining will start at No 8.
France made some changes – two enforced by injury and suspension – to the team that defeated Wales.
🇫🇷🏴 23 joueurs 𝐩𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐮𝐧𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐞 !
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 24, 2021
Romain N’Tamack returns at 10, Arthur Vincent to the centre and Gael Fickou moves to the wing. In the forwards, there is a new second row combination of Swan Rebbadj and Bernard Le Roux.
The teams have met each other five times in just over two years, twice at BT Murrayfield in 2020. Scotland won the 6 Nations game in March 28-17 with Maitland scoring two tries.
In the Autumn Nations Cup in November, France won 22-15 with Virimi Vakatawa scoring the only try of the game.
That win in the post-Covid tournament was the first away win by either side in the contest since 2015.
Townsend reminisces on 1999. Still the best I've seen Scotland play in my 25 years covering them. Got a cooling beer from a friendly vendor through the mesh fence at the back of the press box. https://t.co/PTqlBA2b0X
— Steve Scott (@C_SScott) March 25, 2021
Scotland’s last win in Paris was in the last Five Nations game in 1999, when they won 36-22 scoring five tries in half an hour during the first half.
This is the 98th meeting of the teams. France have won 56 times, Scotland 38, with three draws.