Barclay backs Scotland's hopes

22 February 2019 06:02:27 EST

Injured Scotland flanker John Barclay is confident they can overcome France providing that they can keep hold of possession.

While England have built their success this year on an excellent defence and superb kicking game, Gregor Townsend's men attempt to play slightly more expansively.

They made far too many errors against Ireland, which cost them the chance of securing a victory, but Barclay is expecting an improvement versus a French side who he believes is lacking direction.

"When you watch them (France), you're maybe not quite sure what their shaping actually is," he said. "If Scotland play like they did in the first half against Ireland and they can keep the ball alive, keep the ball and be accurate, I think they will run in tries against France."

Barclay does insist, however, that there is plenty of potential in French rugby, despite seeing them suffer successive defeats in the 2019 Six Nations.

He added: "I watched that game (against England) and thought it was going to be 60 or 70 points at one stage, but I actually thought France in the first half against Wales were outstanding, with the way they played the conditions and their ability to generate quick ball.

"In the second half, it was just the complete opposite, it was almost bizarre to watch. You talk about clichés and you talk about the French and who knows what Scotland will face.

"You look in France, they've got 14 teams, there's so much choice there. The scary thing is that if France get it right, there's so much talent. They should and could be one of the best teams in the world."

France are 28/1 to win the World Cup later this year, with Scotland 40/1 and South Africa 9/1.

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