Scotland captain Stuart Hogg believes his side are well prepared for the challenge of ‘one of the best teams in world rugby at the minute’ when they take to the field against France at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Hogg has come along way since making his first start for the national team in 2012 against France – and is relishing the task a decade on.
“It is a massive challenge, I think they’re one of the best teams in world rugby at the minute and you know the victories that they’ve had over the last year or so have been absolutely incredible.
“They’ve got some quality individual players and are playing incredibly well as a team as well so, for us, it’s a massive challenge, one that we feel prepared and ready for, one that we’re looking very much forward to getting stuck into.”
After an opening round win against England at Murrayfield, Scotland produced a lacklustre performance in Cardiff as they lost out to Wales.
Victory against the French would give them renewed hope of challenging for the Six Nations crown.
“The only pressure is the pressure we put upon ourselves. It’s a must-win game, we want to go out there and express ourselves and show what we’re about. I think against Wales we didn’t give a true reflection of ourselves and tomorrow we will hope to do exactly that.”
Standing in the way, are a French side that have progressed from mercurial to magnificent – with the man voted the world’s best player Antoine Dupont. He dictates the play from scrum-half and with the impressive Romain Ntamack alongside him at 10, they are a formidable force.
But Hogg doesn’t believe it’s an unbeatable partnership.
“We’ve talked a lot about how much defence wins test matches and it’s something we’re incredibly proud of and really look at. That [Scotland’s defence] will have to be on the money tomorrow.”
“I think if you look at Dupont and Ntamack they are unbelievable rugby players but they’ve not played a huge amount of rugby together this season, but yes they are quality as individuals, quality as a pair and they really drive the French team around. But we’ve played them numerous times before and we’re excited about tomorrow”