Scotland's Hogg 'hacked off' at France's Six Nations title talk

Illtud DAFYDD
·3-min read

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg said he has been annoyed by France talking about their title hopes before Friday's Six Nations decider in Paris.

Les Bleus will lift their first trophy since 2010 if they win by more than 20 points -- to improve on Wales' points difference -- and score at least four tries.

Hogg's men, however, will finish second for the first time in the Six Nations era if they claim a victory with an eight-point margin in a fixture re-scheduled from February due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the home camp.

"A lot has been said and it's beginning to hack me off the fact that they've got to get 20 points to win a game," 28-year-old Hogg said.

"We read a quote from one of their players that they've got a trophy to win. As a proud Scotsman that hurt me a lot," he added.

The visitors will be without No. 8 Matt Fagerson after he withdrew on the eve of the match with an ankle injury suffered in training.

Nick Haining replaces Fagerson in the starting lineup with Ryan Wilson set to win his 50th cap from the bench.

"We're gutted for Matt. He's been outstanding throughout the Six Nations for us," full-back Hogg said.

"With that comes an opportunity for other guys. Nick Haining has really taken his opportunities well when he's been given them. He's in good form," he added.

- 'Wafflegate' -

Hogg's counterpart Charles Ollivon said their plans remained unchanged despite Fagerson's late omission.

"We will focus on ourselves firstly," Ollivon said.

"We have a big game to prepare, that's the main thing to say," he added.

The France set-up recorded 16 cases of coronavirus earlier in the campaign.

Ahead of their tournament-opening win over Italy in February players were photographed eating waffles in Rome and were perceived to have broken the Six Nations' virus protocol.

On Thursday, the French Rugby Federation posted an image of the dessert near the Eiffel Tower on social media to cheekily celebrate International Waffle Day.

"I saw it quickly. It didn't intrigue me," team manager Raphael Ibanez said.

"We're preparing as normal for the match. We're very concentrated on the match against Scotland. That's what counts," he added.

Exeter Chiefs' Hogg is able to feature thanks to an agreement between English clubs and the Scottish Rugby Union as the match falls out of World Rugby's Test window.

However the away side will be missing Saracens winger Sean Maitland as they were limited to five England-based players.

"I could see how much it meant for Sean Maitland that he wasn't going to be included," Hogg said.

"And the rest of the other boys (unable to play). Boys who have had a massive impact in training and in games over the last few weeks.

"We're going out tomorrow to put in a performance that they'd be proud of, that they've put massive efforts into."

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