Scotland stand on the brink of history this weekend, with a win against France on Friday night enough to secure them their first ever European Championship title. Wins against Wales and Ireland have left Scotland top of the table with just one round of fixtures left to play – but they play a France side who can still claim the title themselves with a victory in Galashiels on Friday night.
The French must win by 18 points or more to give themselves a chance, and hope that Ireland do not record an incredibly heavy victory against Wales on Sunday to secure the title. But Scotland go into the game as favourites, with centre Joe Wardle believing that they can make the entire country proud of their achievements with success on Friday.
“Winning the European Championship would be outstanding, an amazing achievement for Scotland and give us the chance to play against England, Australia and New Zealand (in the 2016 Four Nations). We can do the country proud. Everyone will love it,” Wardle said.
“It’s outstanding being back playing for Scotland again. I love it – we have such a good laugh and we’ve got a great team. Winning the Europeans would almost make up for missing the World Cup last year!”
As mentioned, the second game takes place on Sunday, and could potentially be a dead rubber by the time it kicks off. Only a win for France on Friday night gives Mark Aston’s Ireland side a chance of claiming the trophy themselves – and automatic qualification for the 2017 World Cup, as well.
Should France win by 18 points and go into pole position for the tournament, Ireland would need to defeat the Welsh by over 40 points at Wrexham to win the event. The Irish caused a famous upset when they defeated France on weekend one of the European Championships, but slipped to defeat in Dublin against Scotland last time out.
As for Wales, they are bidding to avoid the wooden spoon, with a third straight defeat cementing them to the bottom of the group. They are the only side that knows they cannot win the tournament heading into the final weekend, which makes for a dramatic weekend of action.
- Should Scotland defeat France on Friday night, then they would become European Champions
- However, if France win by 18 points, then they would move top, with Sunday’s result then taking on added significance
- That would open the door for Ireland, who would need to win by 21 more points than what France win by to claim the trophy
- Should France win by less than 18 points, Ireland would then have to claw back a points differential on Scotland – which stands at 56 points going into the weekend.