Rugby Union

‘Hacked off’ Scotland out to ruin France’s Six Nations party and delight Wales

Stuart Hogg says Scotland are fired up to spoil France’s Six Nations party and become the toast of Wales.

Hogg expressed his annoyance that all the talk was of a first French title in more than a decade – given the size of Scottish defeat that would require.

“A lot’s been said and it’s beginning to hack me off,” said the Scottish captain.

“We read a quote from one of their players saying they’d got a trophy to win. As a proud Scotsman that hurt me a lot.”

That is not the half of it ahead of a game France must win by 21 points, AND collect a four-try bonus point, in order to pip Wales to the championship.

Had it been played a month ago as scheduled Scotland would have been at full strength and France without 11 first-choice players who tested positive for coronavirus.

But it was postponed due to the outbreak which followed French players leaving their biosecure bubble to eat waffles in a cafe.

Four weeks on and France are back to full strength while Scotland are able to pick only five players from English Premiership clubs due to the rearranged date being outside the agreed international window. Lions wing Sean Maitland is among the players to miss out.

To add insult to injury the official Twitter page for the France rugby team yesterday appeared to make mock the episode by wishing their followers a “Happy International Waffle Day”.

That provoked fury on the platform with one French fan tweeting: “Shabby and dismal. I’m ashamed of you”. The French Ministry for Sports were “not happy” either.

Hogg refused to throw fuel on the fire, saying: “My opinion is one I’ll keep to myself. We’ll go quietly about our work and do it the right way, let our rugby do the talking.

“A lot’s been said about what they need to do, but if we win by eight points we finish the highest we’ve ever done (second) in a Six Nations. That’s the motivation for us.

“The biggest thing that we’ve learned and talked about is creating our own energy within our little bubble – and making sure that bubble can’t be burst.

“Because what I have learned over the last couple of years especially is that when we get things right and concentrate on ourselves we are a bloody good team.”

France are 5/1-on with the bookies to win the game but with Paris-based playmaker Finn Russell pulling the strings for Scotland, Wales are favourites to wear the crown for the second time in three years.

“Finn has been brilliant this week, analysing the French, helping us with the mindset of the French,” said Hogg. “That will really help us.”

France: Brice Dulin, Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas, Bernard Le Roux, Swan Rebbadj, Anthony Jelonch, Charles Ollivon (capt), Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Uini Atonio, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Bouthier, Teddy Thomas.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (capt), Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Nick Haining

Replacements: Dave Cherry, Oli Kebble, Simon Berghan, Alex Craig, Ryan Wilson, Scott Steele, Adam Hastings, Huw Jones

Source: Read Full Article