France have restored most of their big hitters for this weekend’s match after fielding a largely second-string side at Murrayfield and Townsend expects a formidable test in the Saturday night heat, with the temperature forecast to hit 32 degrees during the day in Saint-Etienne .

“France are one of the best teams in the world, they have a first team that has played a lot of rugby together over the last few years, and equally importantly they are playing at home,” said Townsend.

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“The French crowds have been very noisy this year, whether it’s at Stade de France, an under-20s game, a women’s international, or a top club game, so we’re sure we’re going into a very noisy, hostile environment in Saint-Etienne.

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“And with that we’ll also have to deal with the weather conditions. It’s been very hot over here and it will probably be around 20 degrees when the game kicks off at 9pm.

“They don’t have many games left before they open the World Cup so I’m sure they will want to put out their best performance, just like we do.”