Six Nations 2017: Townsend backs Scotland to repeat 1999 win in France

Gregor Townsend
Townsend (centre) was pivotal as Scotland beat France in 1999
Six Nations: France v Scotland
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Sunday, 12 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT (16:00 local)
Coverage: Watch live on BBC television, BBC Sport website & app. Commentary on Radio Scotland, Radio 5 live Sports Extra; Live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Gregor Townsend believes Scotland can win away to France this weekend for the first time since he scored in a crucial victory in Paris in 1999.

The former international fly-half played a key role in the 36-22 triumph that secured the Five Nations title.

Townsend is convinced last weekend's win over Ireland will provide the team with the self belief to win on Sunday.

"The atmosphere can also turn on the French team if the opposition really have a go at them," Townsend said.

"The way the confidence is going through the Scotland team just now, I'm sure that's going to be the plan.

"They're playing really well, the guys are confident from the pro teams as well as the international team. The gap between the so-called best teams in the world and those just below is much closer."

Scotland's win in 1999 was only their second triumph in Paris in 30 years, although the game started with a setback.

France opened the scoring in the first minute, but Scotland responded with five first-half tries, including one from Townsend, who scored in every game of the championship that year.

He says the victory, in Scotland's final Five Nations match, was built on the team arriving in Paris with the "confidence to go out there and play" and then respond after conceding an early try.

"There was a shock at the start, so that got ourselves focused, 'if we don't go out and play, we could be on the back of a big score'," said Glasgow Warriors boss Townsend, who will succeed Vern Cotter as Scotland head coach in June.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Highlights: Scotland 27-22 Ireland

"So [we were] really going for it. Accuracy [was needed] as well, you've got to take your chances in international rugby and away to France especially.

"It's an excellent environment to play in, with the atmosphere, with the way France approach their home games.

"I didn't have the best start in that game. I was delighted to score a try, and I scored a try in every game that year, that was the stand out.

"It was more the collective, we just were producing so much quick ball. You had unsung players in that team who really stepped up and played well, Glenn Metcalfe was outstanding at full-back,

"Cammie Murray played really well on the wing, Stuart Reid came in for his first cap and was outstanding. The team just played very well that day."

Top Stories

Get Inspired Activity Finder

Run by the BBC and partners

Find ways to get active near you: