11 Feb Cotter | Scots expect French power play
Head coach Vern Cotter says he and his players are well-prepared for the physical approach the French are expected take in today’s RBS 6 Nations clash in Paris (kick-off 3pm GMT) – live on BBC.
Having spent eight years as Head Coach of Clermont Auvergne – and many more as a player long before that – he is a well-established figure in French rugby circles and knows a thing or two about their style of play and their relatively new coach Guy Noves – formerly the boss of club rivals Toulouse.
“They believe they can overpower us, that’s reflected in their team selection,” said Cotter.
“There was talk of Bastareaud being involved in the midfield too, to really steamroller us.
“They believe this will be the game to set their RBS 6 Nations alight, we know that.”
Reflecting on the French personnel, he added: “They have replaced Damien Chouly who is their lineout specialist and they have gone for Loann Goujon instead, who is another ball carrier, very similar to Louis Picamoles.
“It’s pretty obvious where they are coming and how they are going to play against us.”
The Scot’s can certainly take some heart from last year’s 29-18 victory over the French last year at BT Murrayfield however they haven’t won in Paris since 1999; although this something already acknowledged by the camp as an opportunity, rather than sort of hoodoo.
“They’ve changed. It’s not quite the same team that played us a year ago,” added Cotter.
“There’s a few personnel changes in there and I think they are a more settled. They have a more confidence in the way they play.
“We are the type of team they like to play against to get themselves right.
“They will just want to go harder and faster and try and make it as difficult as possible.
“They are good going forward but we we’ll just have to see how they are going backwards. We have to remain composed and score at every opportunity, we can’t squander them.”