Scotland vs France: The Auld Alliance at War

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TournamentSix Nations
TimetableSaturday 26th of February at 14:15 GMT
PredictionScotland to Win
OddsScotland to Win @ 3.50
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Scotland to Win
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Forming part of our six nations betting guide, the auld alliance turns bitter rivals in week three of the Guinness Six Nations 2022, as Scotland take on France at Murrayfield on Sunday, the 27th February. Scotland have so far pulled off magic against England in week one, but still have a loss in the standings compared to currently undefeated, grand-slam-searching France. Will Scotland muddy the waters for the first French Six-Nations title since 2010 or will France breeze another week as they look to secure what many France rugby fans see to be the inevitable?

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Background on Scotland v France Rugby

Scotland and France first clashed in 1910. The first test was won by Scotland in sweeping fashion with a score of 27-0, but in 98 total games, France have been the ones to throw their weight around: 56 wins to France, 39 wins to Scotland, and three draws. If I had to make a prediction based on all history, my vote would be going to France. There may be a twist in the tale, however, if we look at the Auld Alliance trophy.

The Auld Alliance trophy is an additional prize during the Six Nations championship, and it is awarded to the winner of Scotland vs France every year. It is a relatively new award, as it was set up in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. The reason this trophy is worth mentioning in terms of a prediction is that Scotland actually hold the most titles, three to one, having won the previous two. Looking at this more recent form, I think Scotland could have an edge.

First Weeks' Results

Both teams have put in solid performances in the first two weeks. Let's take a look at their results below:

Scotland Results

MatchScoreWinner
Scotland vs England20-17Scotland
Wales vs Scotland20-17Wales

France Results

MatchScoreWinner
France vs Italy37-10France
France vs Ireland30-24France

Analysis of Results

Scotland surprised many with their victory over England and were only just shy of scraping four points from their match with Wales. They go into week three as strong contenders, but France surely have the edge, going in with two convincing wins. I think both teams are going to be up for a scrap in this one, and it depends on whether we will see more of Scotland's solid force or France's attacking flair as to whom will come good on the final scoreboard.

Performance in the 2021 Six Nations

I have said before that the Scotland vs France match, the Auld Alliance trophy, is a yearly event, and it is interesting to look at results from previous encounters when considering this game. A lot of the popular press would have you believe that this is going to be a walk in the park for France, but looking at last year's game, when Scotland romped to a 23-27 away victory, there may be a twist in the tale. Indeed, in recent years, Scotland have managed to scoop up three out of four Auld Alliance trophy titles, so that kind of knowledge makes me sway towards this going Scotland's way.

World Rankings

Who are the best countries at rugby? It's not an easy question to answer, but World Rugby always has a go. The official rankings currently stand as follows:

World RankingCountry
1South Africa
2New Zealand
3England
4France
5Ireland
6Australia
7Scotland
8Wales
9Argentina
10Japan

From a world rankings' perspective, fourth-place France should beat seventh-place Scotland on paper. The problem with that line of thinking is that it did not work in week one when, as many were surprised by, Scotland managed to defeat a supposedly stronger England. The waters become murkier still when you take Scotland's result from week two, when they lost to eighth-place Wales.

Whilst I feel that the world rankings do offer a fairly accurate picture of the teams on paper, Scotland seem to be defiant in proving the unpredictable nature of sport, so I'm going to say that France outranking Scotland, going into this affair, is not going to have much of an effect.

The Human Factors

There are no guarantees in rugby, and most of what creates that exciting, unpredictable essence is the human element to the game. Let's look at some key features that will make an impact on the outcome of this match.

The 16th Man: The Effect of the Home Crowd at Murrayfield

We know that Murrayfield will host the Scotland vs France match, so Scotland are going to get the home advantage with what should be a sell-out crowd of 67,144. I remember every trip to Edinburgh to watch the rugby, and the atmosphere is always incredible: the hairs on the back of my neck stood up to hear the Tartan Army singing Flower of Scotland. Atmosphere is going to be a clincher in this game, and I believe it will make a difference to the score at the end of the game.

The Styles of the Head Coaches

It's important to look at Head Coaches when considering the outcome of a game. Seeing into the minds' eyes of either side's main man might reveal the sort of strategy they might employ, which may show us which side is going to have the winning combination. Let's take a look at those in charge below:

Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend believes fans can cheer Scots to victory and has total respect from the fans and his players. The Scotland players were seen going through their line-out routines in the car park of their hotel before the Wales game. How many internationals would do this? Townsend has had the dedication to bring Scotland the sort of success they haven't seen in a long while, so he may be the man for the job to bring victory on Saturday.

Fabien Galthié

Galthié is seen to be a great strategist and attack coach. There are some rather harrowing allegations from his former coaching days at Montpellier - and Scotland's Johnnie Beattie certainly had something to say about Galthié's management style online - but all in all, the Head Coach seems to have found his place with the national job. He is a strong-minded individual, and he has the sort of determination that could push France to their first Six-Nations title since 2010.

My Scotland v France Prediction Winner

Tricky, tricky, tricky! If I wanted to take a purely statistical approach, two wins in the first week and a higher standing in the world rankings would tell me that France are going to win; although I can't escape the nagging thought about Scotland having caused an upset last year and having won three of four Auld Alliance trophy titles. My head says France but my guts says Scotland. It's going to be a hard-fought victory for whomever comes out on top, and it my opinion, that team is going to be Scotland. That may not be something the popular press agrees with, but I have a feeling that we are going to see a repeat of 2021: Scotland to win by close margins.

Steven Brown - Rugby Coach and Writer

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This prediction was written by Steven Brown.

Steven grew up in the football-mad town of Cannock, Staffordshire, in the UK, but he was introduced to rugby at the age of 11. He was a keen player in his youth, and went on to set up a successful sports agency, working with rugby stars such as Leicester legend and England captain, Martin Corry.

Steven’s great love for the game has also led him to exemplary coaching success, having coached men’s and youth teams in the UK, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Malta. Two of his personal highlights from his time coaching came in the form of having six All Blacks lead a one-and-a-half-hour coaching and QA session for an U14s team he had helped to set up and a Best Coaches conference where he had the privilege of talking rugby with a coaching idol of his, Graham Henry. Steven is now pursuing his love of coaching once more, back in the UK.

You can follow Steven Brown on his Linkedin.

Scotland to Win