France v Scotland - RBS Six Nations match preview
Last Updated: 16/03/13 7:47pm
France will be hoping to restore some much-needed pride when they finish their RBS Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Paris on Saturday.
Under head coach Philippe Saint-Andre, France are on their worst winless run in the Six Nations, although they are some way off the 14-match streak endured in the Five Nations between 1924 and 27.
France, who will finish bottom with defeat, kicked off the campaign with a defeat to Italy and have lost subsequent matches against Wales and England before drawing 17-17 at home to Ireland earlier this month.
Saint-Andre believes the influx of foreign talent has hindered the national team, although he has no plans to resign from his post following their miserable campaign.
"I will of course, as is my nature, assume total responsibility and take the blame for the campaign," said Saint-Andre. "However, I am here till 2015 and I will not be leaving, quite the contrary.
"I would ask of you not to take three words from a sentence and give them a meaning that is not intended. The Federation and the committee director gave us a target to prepare for 2015 and we will continue to work towards that objective.
"I take the responsibility because I have always done that, I have never tried to shift it on to others in my career."
Centre Florian Fritz has been ruled out of the game. The 29-year-old, 29-times capped Toulouse star failed to recover from a left foot infection and has been replaced on the replacements bench by the uncapped Gael Fickou.
Scotland's interim coach Scott Johnson is looking forward to the set-pieces against France.
"Here we are, finally, getting to round five of the tournament - round five - and we have finally got a team that wants to scrum. We've finally got one," said Johnson.
"I can't wait, bring it on. A quality opposition against a side who wants to be competitive at the scrum rather try to spook referees and play games.
"We have refused to do that and consistently we get penalised. It's the bane of my existence."
Scotland have lost lock Richie Gray to injury, meaning a start for the promising Grant Gilchrist - and Johnson has opted to field Al Strokosch at flanker in place of Rob Harley.
France: 15 Y Huget, 14 V Clerc, 13 M Bastareaud, 12 W Fofana, 11 M Medard, 10 F Michalak, 9 M Parra, 8 L Picamoles, 7 T Dusautoir (cpt), 6 A Claassen, 5 Y Maestri, 4 S Vahaamahina, 3 N Mas, 2 B Kayser, 1 T Domingo.
Replacements: 16 G Guirado, 17 V Debaty, 18 L Ducalcon, 19 C Samson, 20 Y Nyanga, 21 M Machenaud, 22 F Trinh-Duc, 23 G Fickou.
Scotland: 15 S Hogg, 14 S Maitland, 13 S Lamont, 12 M Scott, 11 T Visser, 10 D Weir, 9 G Laidlaw, 8 J Beattie, 7 K Brown (cpt), 6 A Strokosch, 5 J Hamilton, 4 G Gilchrist, 3 E Murray, 2 R Ford, 1 R Grant
Replacements: 16 D Hall, 17 M Low, 18 G Cross, 19 A Kellock, 20 R Wilson, 21 H Pyrgos, 22 R Jackson, 23 M Evans.
RBS Six Nations 2013 Week 5
Richard Hibbard says English complaints about the refereeing during the recent Six Nations match are unfounded.
England will seek "clarification" from the IRB about the performance of referee Steve Walsh in the 30-3 defeat by Wales.
Brian O'Driscoll has been cited for an alleged stamp during Ireland's Six Nations defeat to Italy on Saturday.
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