Assistant Scotland rugby coach Matt Taylor has warned of the threat posed by a new kid on the RBS Six Nations block ahead of his side’s encounter with France in Paris on Saturday.
When Racing Metro winger Teddy Thomas, 21, debuted in a 40-15 Autumn Test victory over Fiji, it took him less than a minute to notch the first of his three tries.
A further try following in his next outing against Australia and that contribution has not gone unnoticed sat BT Murrayfield.
Said Taylor, who has primary responsibility for defence: “Teddy Thomas, look at how he played in the Autumn ... he produced half of their tackle breaks.
“He is part of a world class back three and with (Mathieu) Bastareaud in the centre France are going to be hard to defend against.
“France are very good from unstructured attack. You have to kick at right time as they are liable to rip you open if you have poor kick chase. But like any team if you get in their faces, have line speed and create chaos at the breakdown as well as do good things defensively. Any team is easier to shut down.”
Taylor insists a first win in Paris for 16 years would provide especially good momentum with two home games (against Wales and Italy) to follow.
“If you win then there’s two home games in front of a crowd that always give you a big lift,” he said.
One possible advantage, according to Taylor, is new Scots coach Vern Cotter arriving from Clermont Auvergne. “Vern spent 16 or 17 years there as player or coach. He knows what makes individuals tick and has a very good understanding of French psyche.”
Taylor also gave a vote of confidence to prop Ryan Grant, added to the Scotland squad following a not-proven verdict in a recent assault case.
“Ryan seems to be in good space,” Taylor added. “That part of what he has gone through is over. We are now just going to concentrate on rugby, He is a Lions player who will bring a lot to the group. As a professional he would have kept himself in pretty good nick.”