France might feel they have a score to settle at Murrayfield this afternoon having lost their last three games in the Scottish capital, but home captain Stuart Hogg says his team have a point to prove as well.

The full-back is frustrated that the red-carding of Mohamed Haouas just before half-time of the most recent match between the two sides has been cited as the reason for the 28-17 home victory, whereas it is his contention that the Scots already had their opponents rattled by the time the French prop lashed out with a wild punch aimed at Jamie Ritchie in frustration.

“They’re arguably one of the best sides in the world and came to BT Murrayfield in March with three wins from three [games in the Six Nations], high on confidence, playing some very good rugby, but we shut them down,” he said.

“We hustled, we fronted up, and we got ourselves in some good positions in attack.

“I’ve read a fair bit this week where all they’re talking about is how the red card changed the game, [but] have you ever seen a French team rattled like that before? That happened because we fronted up, got in their faces and then got stuck into them. I don’t think they’d ever come across anything like that. So tomorrow we’ll be doing the same.”

The Scots are looking for their sixth win on the bounce in this match – something they have not managed since the 1990 Grand Slam season – but know they are likely to face a significant step up in class from their recent wins over Georgia, out-of-sorts Wales and Italy, when they take on arguably the best team in world rugby at the moment.

Scotland’s improvement in form and results since their humbling World Cup flop this time last year has been based on a new-found belligerence in defence, and Hogg believes this part of their game will be key to making it four in a row against the French at Murrayfield.

“We want to be tough to beat and to fight for absolutely everything that we can,” he said. “We want people to be getting off the deck and smashing lumps out of guys, going time after time after time. Teams will break down eventually. If we continue to go after them, they’ll get bored and kick us the ball.

“That’s what we want. Any time France kick on Sunday, we’ll see that as a little victory because they no longer want to attack. We enjoy the challenge of trying to get the ball back.

“We don’t feel stressed in any way about our systems, we back each other. We try to spend as much time as we can in attack, but [defence coach] Steve Tandy has brought a whole new outlook to the way that we defend.

“It’s given us confidence and you can see that in the way that we’ve performed. The big thing now is taking that confidence, turning it into belief and really going after France.”

While Hogg is renowned as one of the most exciting attacking players in the world, he insists that he is getting the same buzz out of focusing on defence as does finding ways to express himself with the ball in hand – and he points out that being pragmatic when it is required does not necessarily equate to a lack of ambition.

“Defence is a mindset, an ability to really attack the opposition’s attack,” he said. “We fully understand that we want to be one of the best defensive teams in world rugby and that’s not going to happen overnight.

“A large part of the game now is turnover attack and the ability to punish teams after defending. That’s when the likes of myself and the rest of the back three come alive because we have very little influence on what’s happening on the front line in terms of boys smashing each other.

“We’re winning Test matches and that’s what we’re here to do. I fully believe in our scrum and line-out, our set-piece in general … that we are going to cause teams problems.

“We’ve had discussions as leaders over the last few games where there have been times where there could have been an easy three points, but we back each other to go after teams, we’ve gone to the corner and got a good result from it.

“That’s not going to happen all the time, but you get a feel for it and how the game is going. I love the attitude of the players, because I turned around twice against Italy and Wales and said ‘we’re going after them’, and everyone nodded and agreed. We got two tries on the back of it.

“The mindset and the attitude in the camp is huge. I love the fact we’re challenging each other to go after teams.”