Scotland v France, Six Nations, February 26
Scotland primed for bruising battle
February 23, 2012
Scotland coach Andy Robinson has demanded a strong showing from his forwards against France © PA Photos
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson believes the forward battle will decide his side's Six Nations clash with France at Murrayfield.
Robinson's side enter their latest Championship clash after strong displays against England and Wales, albeit in defeat, and he has urged hi side to front up once again on Sunday.
"France are the second-best team in the world. Where France are strong is that they have the ability to play in so many different ways," Robinson told PA Sport. "The one area where I believe we're going to be really tested - and we haven't been tested all the time in the other two games - is at the scrum and line-out.
"We've been able to dominate in those areas. This time, if we dominate the French pack that would be a great achievement for our pack. It's one of the things we've been building up to and we've got to really go to - we've got to work to dominate the scrum and the line-out this week because we will be severely challenged on both France's ball and our ball."
Quick ball is imperative if Scotland are to prevail against France for the second time in Six Nations history - the only previous win coming in the 2006 tournament. And Robinson is determined to maintain faith in the expansive approach, despite the losses in the two prior games.
He added: "The way we've tried to play is with the ball in hand and it's because I believe that's the best way we can achieve victories. That's what we've got to go out and execute this week. We've moved the ball well and we've got to challenge the French defence for multiple phases."
Robinson yesterday named a team showing four changes from the 27-13 loss to Wales. Stuart Hogg, the 19-year-old who made his debut off the replacements' bench in Cardiff, is set to make his first Test start, while there were recalls for flanker John Barclay, scrum-half Mike Blair and centre Graeme Morrison. There were two further positional switches - Sean Lamont moving to outside centre and Rory Lamont to the wing.
Scrum-half Chris Cusiter and centre Nick De Luca dropped to the bench, while wing Max Evans (ankle) and blindside flanker Alasdair Strokosch (fractured hand) were unavailable for selection.
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