Hugo Southwell has told his Scotland team-mates to grasp the opportunity in front of them in tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations opener with France in Paris.
The Stade Francais full-back believes Scotland are capable of ending a 12-year wait for victory in the French capital after a string of results – five wins in six Tests – which is as good as any he has experienced in his 57-cap career.
The 30-year-old said: “It’s a massive opportunity for all of us and all the team to start on a great note.
“Hopefully we can produce the performance we know we’re capable of and continue where we left off in the autumn against South Africa and Samoa.
“It motivates you to go out there and try and break that mould.
“We’ve only won twice there in the last 40 years. It’s a massive ask – the stats show that – but we’ll be going out there to do whatever we can, after the year we’ve had, to change how things have been before.
“We haven’t had a set of results like this since I’ve been involved.
“To be on a run like we are – barring the game against New Zealand – with the confidence in the squad and winning games we may have lost before.
“The belief to win those close games is going to hold us in such a positive frame of mind going into such a tough game, away to France.”
France lost 59-16 to Australia in their last Test, and Southwell, whose knowledge of the French game could be crucial for Scotland, believes the first quarter of the game will be vital.
He added: “I think silencing the crowd is a start. They will just as quickly get into the game as they will lose patience if it’s not quite going their way.
“The first 20 minutes is going to be pretty full on, pretty hectic.
“It might be quite brutal at times and we’ve got to make sure we come out, if not on top, even with the French in all departments of the game.
“I think they’ll be looking for something to cling onto in the first 20 minutes, not just the players, but the crowd.
“They’ve been under a lot of pressure after the last 20, 25 minutes against Australia.
“That’s going to be key for us in keeping the doubt in the French ranks.
“If we can do that it will go a long way into getting a result for us.”