Scotland v Italy: “We’re more than capable of going across to France and winning”

By Gary Heatly

Scotland scored eight tries on Saturday to defeat Italy 52-10 at BT Murrayfield in the Six Nations – and while the result was a positive one attentions immediately turned to the final match of the tournament away to France in Paris on Friday, March 26.

The delayed round three clash at the Stade de France has a lot riding on it with France still able to win the title after their remarkable comeback triumph over Wales on Saturday night while the Scots themselves can still finish second in the table if things go their way.

Both sides love to attack – and need to attack in this one – so it should be a fitting end to a brilliant Six Nations tournament.

After the straightforward win over Italy, Scotland Captain Stuart Hogg said:  “I think we can take a huge amount of confidence from the fact that the way we have wanted to try and play has worked for us throughout large periods of this Six Nations.

“Our defence has been spot on, our attack has been very, very clinical – it’s just the little bits in between that have let us down over the last couple of weeks [in defeats to Wales and Ireland].

“We know fine well where we’re going wrong. We can take a huge amount of confidence from the way we played on both sides of the ball against Italy and get excited about another challenge against France.

“It will be one hell of a battle for us, but we’re very much looking forward to another opportunity to represent Scotland and make sure we do our best.

“We’re more than capable of going across to France and winning. And that’s what we’ll start gearing up for now.”

Asked if he enjoyed an outing at stand-off rather than his usual full-back berth, 28-year-old Hogg said:  “Yeah, I did. I had a lot of fun.

“There was a huge amount of energy throughout the whole week leading up to the game. We talked a lot this week about starting the game in the best way possible, and at times we didn’t quite do that, but we regrouped well.

“We got ourselves into good positions. Maybe at times just lacked that clinical edge, but we had a lot of fun. We had smiles on our faces and the best feeling ever is winning in a Scotland jersey, so that’s what we’ve done and we’re very, very pleased.”

And on winger Duhan van der Merwe, who bagged two tries and now has six tries from just nine Tests, Hogg said:  “He’s been outstanding, hasn’t he? The pleasing thing for me is that he works incredibly hard at his game.

“He’s always getting the best out of his body in the gym and performs day in day out on the training field and that reaps the benefits.

“He’s been a breath of fresh air for our team. I love the way he goes about his work.

“And he’s also a great character off the field, we have gelled and bonded really well. I’ve a lot of time and a lot of respect for him. Long may his form continue for us.”

Thanks to David Gibson/FOTOSPORT for the main image

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