Danny Till has two selections for Scotland v France on Sunday.
The final game of round three will see France travel to Scotland as they look to continue their push towards a first Six Nations Grand Slam in 10 years.
There is no doubt that France rode their luck at times in the win over Wales in the last round. The obvious talking point was Paul Willemse’s could knock-on as he tackled Ken Owens, which wasn’t deemed deliberate by the officials. The lock was lucky to stay on the field.
Romain Ntamack’s interception was another huge turning point, I thought it was a brilliant defensive read and the young fly-half, who controlled the game very well along with Antoine Dupont. Their spirit in defence and the way they held Wales out, particularly at the end of the first half when down to 14-men showed just how far they’ve come in a short space of time.
Fabian Galthie has recalled winger Damian Penaud in place of Teddy Thomas (who has disappointed as one of my selections for top try scorer). That is the only change for Les Bleus who have a pretty settled side heading to Edinburgh.
Scotland finally got their first win of the tournament in Rome as they beat Italy 17-0, but the less said about that game the better. Gregor Townsend will be please that his side are off the mark and he has made three changes to his starting XV with Nick Haining, Fraser Brown and Grant Gilchrist coming into the pack.
Strong starters France to continue in the same vein
Much like England, France have made a habit of starting games at a ferocious pace. In all three of their Six Nations games so far they have scored a try inside the opening 10 minutes – and that record extends to six games when including the World Cup.
When delving further into their record you will see that they have led going into the break of their last 11 internationals (Six Nations, World Cup, and World Cup warm-ups) with an average winning margin of 10 points.
They have also won the first half in their last five games with Scotland, by a margin of seven points. So when looking at all these stats, I really like the look of France -3 on the first half handicap and that is my first selection of the game.
Back Alldritt to strike again
La Rochelle number eight Gregory Alldritt has been one of the stars of the French revival in 2020. His ball carrying and work around the ruck have been a potent weapon for Les Bleus, who have definitely found the successor to Louis Picamoles.
The 22-year-old has scored four tries in 14 test appearances, but three of those scores have come against Scotland. He scored twice off the bench in the Six Nations clash in Paris last season and then scored in the World Cup warm-up fixture in August.
Looking at the way France have deployed Alldritt so far this tournament, he will see a lot of the ball and I think a price of 4/1 for him to score anytime looks value.