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Scotland Six Nations shock in store as France absences increase

| 03.03.2014

Having proved their relevance to the competition with a last gasp 21-20 win in Italy, Scotland will fancy their chances of successive Six Nations victories for the second season running at odds of 11/4 when a battered and bruised France side travel to Edinburgh in gameweek four.

The Thistle have suffered back-to-back defeats against Les Bleus in the last two years, but have got to within a converted try of at least a draw on both occasions.

With Philippe Saint-Andre counting the cost of the 27-6 loss at the Millennium Stadium against Wales in more ways than one, the visitors look there for the taking ahead of the Murrayfield clash with Scott Johnson’s boys.

Scrum-half Morgan Parra was called-up to replace number eight Louis Picamoles in the squad, after the Toulouse man showed a lack of respect to referee Alain Rolland by sarcastically clapping the man in the middle on the way to the sin bin in Cardiff.

However, Parra is now suspended for the Scotland match after headbutting winger Rene Ranger of Montpellier during a Top 14 match with his club side Clermont Auvergne.

With Toulouse flanker Yannick Nyanga and influential Clermont centre Wesley Fofana both set to miss the rest of the tournament through injury, and Castres pair Ibrahim Diarra and Marc Andreu dropped after poor performances against the Welsh, Saint-Andre is in danger of leading his side to a new low in Caledonia’s capital.

Former Scotland coach and four-time British and Irish Lions chief Ian McGeechan weighed in behind his old side this week, when stating that it ‘would have been a travesty’ if Duncan Weir’s 80th-minute drop goal had missed the mark and handed the Azzurri the win.

The 67-year-old is convinced that Scotland have all the momentum coming into the match at Murrayfield and with two-try hero Alex Dunbar set to star again at centre, interim coach Johnson can feel confident of claiming a famous scalp before trotting back off to Australia.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune