Rugby

Scotland braced for Les Bleus backlash as wounded France head to Edinburgh

Scotland host the French after ending long losing run in Cardiff.

Scotland centre Huw Jones (centre) expects a Six Nations reaction from France
Huw Jones Scotland centre Huw Jones (centre) expects a Six Nations reaction from France (Joe Giddens/PA)

Huw Jones says that Scotland will expect a reaction from France in next Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash.

Les Bleus head to Edinburgh on the back of a crushing 38-17 home defeat against Six Nations title and Grand Slam favourites Ireland.

It followed their shattering World Cup quarter-final loss to South Africa, and they now face a tough examination at Murrayfield, where recent history does not favour them.

Scotland have won three of the last four Six Nations Tests at home against France, and they are fresh from a first victory over Wales in Cardiff for 22 years.

It might not have been exactly how they planned, with Wales scoring 26 unanswered points to threaten the biggest comeback victory in Six Nations history.

But Scotland managed to hold on for a 27-26 success, ending a run of 11 successive defeats in the Welsh capital.

“We’re really happy to have won, but there are still things we need to fix if we are to continue to grow,” Glasgow centre Jones said.

“This is a great chance to learn from our mistakes because it always feels better when you have won. We can take this momentum into next weekend.

“We will be expecting a reaction from France and from ourselves as well. We watched their game, and Ireland did their job very well.

“We have got to keep playing and manage whatever they throw at us. We want to kick on.”

Scotland are set to have co-captain Rory Darge available after he missed the Wales game due to a knee injury, while lock Grant Gilchrist has served a one-week suspension that sidelined him last weekend.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend saw his team open their Six Nations campaign with victory over Wales
Gregor Townsend Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend saw his team open their Six Nations campaign with victory over Wales (David Davies/PA)

And it is a timey double development for Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, given that lock Richie Gray (biceps) and flanker Luke Crosbie (shoulder) were forced off injured at the Principality Stadium.

Townsend said: “We know that next weekend is a totally different challenge.

“A team that has been one of the best in the world for a number of years on the back of a defeat, so they will be a big threat to us and we will have to be better.

“You look at yourselves, and if you get things right and you manage to get into the opposition 22, then opportunities will arrive, especially with the players we have.

“If we can get the ball into Finn’s (Finn Russell) hands more often, the players outside him, then when you do have one on ones and you have space to attack, then we will get behind the defence.

“The second half (in Cardiff) we just didn’t have enough ball. We had hardly any ball until the end of the game.”