Six Nations 2017: Dell and Fagerson backed to handle 'huge' French pack

Zander Fagerson's power wasn't confined to the Scotland scrum against Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday
Zander Fagerson's power wasn't confined to the Scotland scrum against Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday

Scotland's inexperienced props will be able to handle the power of the French scrum this weekend, according to forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys.

Allan Dell and Zander Fagerson have only nine Scotland caps between them, but Humphreys has no concerns about them taking on a "huge" French pack.

"They understand what we're trying to do and their responsibility - we're delighted with them," Humphreys said.

"We have to be prepared for what is a massive battle in that area."

Dell and Fagerson are the frontline props following injuries to the established duo of Alasdair Dickinson and WP Nel.

The Scottish scrum was in trouble in the early stages of the Six Nations opener against Ireland on Saturday. They were penalised at the first two scrums but Humphreys was impressed by how they stabilised that area as the Scots went on to secure a 27-22 victory.

"We understood that Ireland would be a threat in that department," he said.

"The stuff we had planned we probably didn't execute at the start of the game as we would have liked. We had consecutive scrums where we got our process wrong. What was really pleasing was that the boys solved the problem.

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Highlights: Scotland 27-22 Ireland

"We know that it's a huge work in progress for us. We've got fantastic athletes in that front row who are learning but they give us so much more as a team.

"There are going to be more scrums this weekend [than the six against Ireland]. The pitch the last time we played out there [in Paris] wasn't great but the weather forecast is good so hopefully it will suit our game."

Hooker Ross Ford was called into the action as an early replacement against Ireland after an injury to Fraser Brown.

If he features in Paris it will be cap number 104 for the Edinburgh man, and he believes this team is well equipped to register a first Scotland win in France since 1999.

Scotland in the 2017 Six Nations
Saturday, 4 February: Scotland 27-22 Ireland
Sunday, 12 February, 15:00 GMT: France v Scotland
Saturday, 25 February, 14:25 GMT: Scotland v Wales
Saturday, 11 March, 16:00 GMT: England v Scotland
Saturday, 18 March, 12:30 GMT: Scotland v Italy

"Before the Ireland game nobody gave us much of a look-in but as a group we have confidence in our ability," Ford explained.

"We have got that little bit of momentum going into this game. If you look at the past two times we've been across there we've been in the game.

"I think we've developed in the last 18 months and if we find ourselves in that situation again hopefully with the lessons we've learned we can now close games out."

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