France V Scotland

Sport doesn’t do neat historical symmetry, which could have seen Scotland end its losing streak 20 years with the stand-off from that day operating as Head Coach today.

Instead Scotland met a French team which was fighting to regain its own past glories in Paris and create some missing romance with its home supporters, in the city of love.

In the end it was the home side who determined the script with a 27-10 bonus point win in front of a capacity, fervent French crowd.

Scotland were undone by errors at key times and a failure to convert precious possession in the French 22 into points.

France had four tries chalked off by the TMO, two in each half, and will likley feel their endeavour should have ended the contest far earlier had the scores stuck.

A late rally after Gregor Townsend emptied the bench on 65 minutes created Scotland’s only try of the day for replacement scrum-half Ali Price, nine minutes later.

Scotland pushed to get within a losing bonus point as the game closed but again lost possession and France sealed their own bonus-point score with the last play of the game, well past 80 minutes.

As it happenend...

France took the lead after 17 minutes with a sweeping move started with a deep clearing kick from stand-off Pete Horne, from which full-back Ramos countered.

He fed wing Jefferson Penaud on the inside who linked with scrum-half Antoine Dupont to put in stand-off Romain Ntamack to score as they cut into the Scottish 22. Ramos converted (7-0).

Ramos extended the lead shortly after when a kick through into the Scottish 22 was fielded by Sean Maitland from a chasing Huget, but as the Scots then tried to counter Sam Johnson was caught in possession under his own posts and the French won a penalty, which Ramos converted (10-0).

In a first half of high drama and low-quality, Scotland were fortunate to end the first 40 only seven points in arrears.

France had two tries disallowed, both for knock-ons, in the opening 30 minutes and full-back Ramos missed a straight-forward penalty in the Scottish 22.

Despite the potential 17-point reprieve the Scots themselves were wasteful at key moments, with either scrum or lineouts letting them down when the home side had infringed and conceded territory.

Referee Nic Berry found the French to blame at the breakdown on numerous occasions early on and it was Huget who was sent to the sin-bin for offside.

The visitors had little to show for their first 40 and even saw captain Greig Laidlaw uncharacteristically miss a penalty early on.

He didn’t miss with his next attempt at goal and the three points took him to second on the Scotland’s all-time points scorer list with 669, behind Chris Paterson.

Scotland’s best phases of possession and territory came in the build-up to the Laidlaw penalty and the Scots were unlucky to have a promising multi-phased attack just outside the opposition 22 halted by the referee who saw French hooker Guirado needing medical treatment.

HALF-TIME: France 10-3 Scotland

France started the second-half with energy and confidence and scored following a centre Mathieu Bastareaud chip and collect, which was taken on by fellow centre Gael Fickou.

He fed Picamoles who set up a ruck close to the Scottish line, which Dupont quickly distributed wide to a waiting Huget to score from short range. Ramos hit the post with conversion (15-3).

An HIA for Pete Horne saw Adam Hastings come in at fly-half shortly after, and when Horne returned he moved to inside-centre to replace Sam Johnson, and Hastings held the pivot role for the remainder of the game.

Both sides were opened up defensively as the second-half unfolded but the French attacks created more danger and ultimately to the two short range tries for Alldritt on 76 and 86 minutes respectively. Ramos missed one conversion and substitute Serin scored the other.

FULL-TIME: France (10) 27-10 (3) Scotland

live commentary 2:15 PM Saturday 23 Feb 2019

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Kick-off 2:15 PM

France

Scotland

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