Scots' Storming Start Sets Up Win

Scotland Club International 13 France Club International 9

After their narrow defeat on French soil last season, the Scotland Club International team turned the tables with a hard-fought victory at rain-lashed Netherdale tonight.

An early try by Calum Anderson, converted by his Melrose team-mate Scott Wight gave Scotland a dream start and though Wight missed three penalties he did hold his nerve to land two and that was enough for the hosts, though they had to endure a nervous finale.

Scotland Club International 13 France Club International 9

The Scots get stuck in

After their narrow defeat on French soil last season, the Scotland Club International team turned the tables with a hard-fought victory at rain-lashed Netherdale tonight.

An early try by Calum Anderson, converted by his Melrose team-mate Scott Wight gave Scotland a dream start and though Wight missed three penalties he did hold his nerve to land two and that was enough for the hosts, though they had to endure a nervous finale.

The Scots’ coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “It was a gutsy effort by the forwards in difficult conditions after the long lay-off.  It was great to get a big Border crowed behind the team, which I think made the difference in a narrow victory.”

The action didn’t really kick off until a turnover ball in the middle of the park, from a great tackle by Malcolm Clapperton, saw Mark Cairns feed Calum Anderson and he ran in the try from just inside the French half.  And the conversion by Scott Wight saw Scotland take a 7-0 lead.

A Scotland penalty after 16 minutes gave Mathieu Maillard the chance to put some points on the board for France, and he did so from 10 metres into the Scotland half.

The next few minutes saw Wight then Maillard both miss penalties.

Some 25 minutes into the half France once again were penalised for infringing at the ruck area. Wight did not miss this time and Scotland advanced to a 10-3 lead.

Minutes later Scotland got yet another penalty just inside the French half and Wight’s kick sailed just short of the posts.  No such ill-luck for the visitors as Maillard was on target from a scrum offence.

Just before the interval France were penalised for coming in the side of the ruck. Centre  Anthony Frenet was yellow-carded but Wight could not extract further punishment as his goal kick miscued.

Half-time: Scotland Club International 10 France Club International 6

Not much to say about the beginning of the second half other than Scotland were not able to capitalise on their one man advantage.

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With 60 minutes on the clock Scotland gave away another penalty and Maillard landed his third successful kick to bring France within one point.  He then missed the chance to put France in the lead minutes later when his radar failed.

With only 10 minutes left another yellow card was shown, this time for the French substitute Nicolas Kwarazfelia. Wight eased home concerns with the resulting penalty to make it 13-9.

Penalties were coming thick and fast now and when home lock Damien Kelly was penalised at the ruck, he, too, trotted to the sin-bin.

Scotland held on for the remaining time after some pressure by France to try and steal it at the death.

Scotland: Fraser Harkness (Selkirk);  Calum Anderson (Melrose), Malcolm Clapperton (Boroughmuir), James King, Fraser Thomson; Scott Wight (all Melrose), Richard Snedden (Currie); Alan Dymock, Scott Burnett (both Heriot’s), Alan Brown (Dundee), Damien Kelly (Ayr), Rory McKay (Glasgow Hawks), John Dalziel (Melrose) CAPTAIN,  Ross Weston and Mark Cairns (both Currie).

Subs: Gregor Wood (Watsonians), Gordon Reid (Ayr), Alastair Hamilton (Currie), Scott Sutherland, Paul Burke and Jamie Hunter (all Ayr) and Andy MacMahon (Currie)

France: Sebastien Mercier; Gregory Lavergne, Anthony Frenet, Julien Lesgourgues, Simon Sarthou; Mathieu Maillard, Guillaume Dulay; Adrien Falieres, Remi Escudier, Nicolas Mateos, Simon Pinet, Mehdi Ameur, Joris Matheron, Fabrice Soldan, Lorin Lafitte.

Substitutes: Benat Auzqui, Florian Cazalot, Nicolas Kwarazfelia, Stephane Lassiaz, Anthony Biscay, Bertrand Lombarteix, Jean-Baptiste Lafite.

Referee: Llyr Geraint-Roberts (England)

Crowd: 2,100

Man of the match: Damien Kelly (Ayr)