Scotland 'in best place we have ever been' ahead of Six Nations France clash

McMillan full of belief as Scotland bid to keep up fine recent run

Louise McMillan has been around the Scotland squad since 2016 and, as she prepares to earn her 50th cap on Saturday, she says the squad are “in the best place we have ever been” to go up against world number three side France.

It is hard to argue with her assessment given that Scotland head into the Hive Stadium encounter off the back of a record seventh Test win on the spin in all competitions last week versus Wales which has moved them up to a new high of six in the world rankings. Wales have been a bogey team in the past for Scotland and they put that right with the 20-18 triumph in Cardiff in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations round one match, but a win in round two would definitely top that.

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Since they first met in 1998, Scotland have won four matches versus France with this weekend’s visitors having come out on top 24 times and there having been one draw. Scotland last beat France at Lasswade’s Hawthornden ground 10-8 in 2010 while last year they were thumped 55-0. However, this is a totally different Scotland now: they have not lost since that trip to Vannes last April and there is really belief internally in the squad - and externally - that they can push France, like the 2020 13-13 Scotstoun draw, if they get things right.

Louise McMillan will win her 50th cap for Scotland against France.Louise McMillan will win her 50th cap for Scotland against France.
Louise McMillan will win her 50th cap for Scotland against France.

Ahead of the clash, 26-year-old second-row McMillan said: “This will be such a good test for us to see where we are at, we are excited for it, you always look forward to taking on the best teams in the world and we can’t wait. We are in the best place we ever have been since I joined the squad all those years ago. In previous years we have lost a few games late on, but last week we showed that we have the ability and the control in our game to see those tight ones out and we take confidence from that.

“Teams often talk about focusing on themselves and it doesn’t always happen, but last week we were totally focused on ourselves and it paid off. Obviously, we have done our analysis on France as they are an excellent team, but we are once again really focusing on what we can do this weekend. We are setting plans and sticking to them now in games and it is really cool to see the results coming off the back of it – as a group we are very focused.”

France are likely to be the nearest challengers to favourites England as this Six Nations tournament goes on and, in week one, they beat Ireland 38-17 in Le Mans with a bonus point. “Any opportunity France get to spark an attack or offload the ball they will take it,” McMillan, who now plays for Saracens down south having come through the ranks at Birkmyre and Hillhead Jordanhill, explained. "They play what is in front of them, they don’t have as much structure as other teams we play against, so we have to be aware of that and stick to our own systems and gameplan. We have talked about not panicking when those offloads come because we have trust in our own structures and we believe in our defence.”

The game kicks-off at 2.15pm and is live via BBC Sport.



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