France vs Scotland, Sat, 07/02/2015 - 17:00

France
15 - 8
Full time
Scotland
Saturday, 7 February, 2015 - 17:00 | Stade de France

Scotland produced the only try of an entertaining match to open their RBS 6 Nations account, but lost out 15-8 to France in Paris.

In an open game full of attacking rugby, turnovers and stout defence, it was the penalty count that cost Scotland.

France got off to a quick start with a successful penalty kick in the opening minute.

This led to a strong opening period for the home side, igniting the crowd in a packed Stade de France.

With both sides committed to running the ball and looking for spaces, Scotland began to grow into the match through successful phases, including a nice show-and-go from championship debutant Finn Russell, to break through the French lines; though sadly it ended with a Johnnie Beattie knock on.

Scotland’s scrum started strongly and resulted in the first points for the away team, with captain Greg Laidlaw passing the 300 point mark for his country with a penalty on 12 minutes.

Four minutes later Tommy Seymour was replaced by Edinburgh Rugby’s Dougie Fife, after taking a knock to the hip, marking a fourth appearance for the former Boroughmuir and Currie man.

The levelled score sparked France to life.

Several breaks and quick phases lifted the crowd again for a concerted period of pressure, with winger Teddy Thomas showing his danger with a sharp break and neat offload.

French pressure yielded a penalty for offside which Lopez scored, taking the score to 6-3.

Scotland attacked from a subsequent lineout and, after securing several phases, drew a penalty from France, which Stuart Hogg attempted but missed from inside his own half.

Despite the tight scoreline both teams still stuck to their attacking strategies, resulting in several turnovers that tested both defences behind the gain-line.

Scotland were found off-side again and Lopez pushed the score to 9-3.

The half then ended with strong Scotland pressure, created by a lovely break between Hogg and Visser down the blind side inside the French half.

A burst from Mark Bennett then threatened the French line.

Strong rucking from the Scottish forwards enabled Laidlaw to go wide quickly and through hands to prop Euan Murray to deliver the final pass in the far corner for another championship first-timer, Dougie Fife, to score his first try for Scotland.

Greig Laidlaw hit the post with the conversation attempt and the first half came to a close with the scores poised at 9-8.

Half-time: France 9-8 Scotland

Scotland started the second-half brightly and a turnover in defence gave them another chance to continue their strong scrummaging.

French pressure though began to mount with a change of tactics to take the game to the Scottish team up-front, with Mathieu Basteraud and Pascal Pape making big carries, backed up with driving mauls off the back of lineouts.

On 50 minutes the French kicked behind Scottish lines, but a penalty had been awarded and Lopez once again added three points for 12-8.

Lopez could have extended the score further six minutes later with a penalty from a scrum, which hit the post, before further French pressure deep in Scottish territory saw Johnnie Beattie yellow-carded on the hour.

Scotland were beginning to gain their own momentum and continued to play with ball in hand and confidence.

This ambition also created risk as Tim Visser attempted an intercept just inside his own half but was beaten by the ball, resulting in France charging toward the Scottish line, only for Mark Bennett to save a certain try by stripping the ball in the tackle right at his own line.

Despite being a man down Scotland’s excellent defence continued and the French were not able to capitalise on the extra man for the 10-minute sin-bin spell.

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg continued to threaten the French defence, with an up and under from Russell just too high to gather in the French half.

But as the game drew to a close a penalty inside Scotland’s 22 gave Lopez his fifth successful kick of the night and secured the victory 15-8.

Speaking at the post-match press conference Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter spoke of his players “big hearts” and said the team kept believing they could get a positive result from a tough, physical match.

Any disappointed, captain Greig Laidlaw explained, would be channelled into the next home match against Wales at BT Murrayfield on Sunday 15 February.

Full-time: France (9) 15-8 (8) Scotland

 

SCOTLAND: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Euan Murray, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, Robert Harley, Blair Cowan, Johnnie Beattie. Substitutes: Fraser Brown on for Ford (67'), Gordon Reid on for Dickinson (65'), Geoff Cross on for Murray (65'), Jim Hamilton on for Gray (65'), Alasdair Strokosch on for Harley (53'), Harley back on for Cowan (HIA), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne on for Laidlaw (78'), Peter Horne on for Dunbar (67'), Dougie Fife on for Seymour (16').

Team lineups

France
Scotland

Backs

15 Scott Spedding
14 Yoann Huget
13 Mathieu Bastareaud
12 Wesley Fofana
11 Teddy Thomas
10 Camille Lopez
9 Rory Kockott

Forwards

1 Alexandre Menini
2 Guilhem Guirado
3 Rabah Slimani
4 Pascal Papé
5 Yoann Maestri
6 Thierry Dusautoir
7 Bernard Le Roux
8 Damien Chouly

Substitutes

16 Benjamin Kayser
17 Uini Atonio
18 Eddy Ben Arous
19 Romain Taofifenua
20 Loan Goujon
21 Morgan Parra
22 Remi Tales
23 Remy Lamerat

RBS 6 Nations Championship 2015 table

PosTeamPWLDPts
1Ireland54108
2England54108
3Wales54108
4France52304
5Italy51402
6Scotland50500

RBS 6 Nations Championship 2015 latest results

England 55 v 35 France
Scotland 10 v 40 Ireland
Italy 20 v 61 Wales
Italy 0 v 29 France
England 25 v 13 Scotland