Scotland’s burgeoning confidence was dashed and France’s Six Nations title aspirations were revived with a valiant victory in a remarkable match in Paris.
Scotland had trailed 19-0 before surging back to make it a four-point contest heading into the last few minutes after both sides received red cards in the opening ten minutes.
Gael Fickou eventually powered through to earn a bonus-point victory for France after a failed Scotland lineout allowed Fabien Galthie’s team to advance down the field.
France is now tied with Scotland and England on 10 points after two victories and a loss, leaving Ireland as the only team still vying for the Grand Slam. Ireland will visit Murrayfield in two weeks.
Prior to Grant Gilchrist of Scotland receiving a red card and Mohamed Haouas of France receiving a similar punishment, goals had been scored by Romain Ntamack and Ethan Dumortier.
Huw Jones scored two tries for Scotland, but Thomas Ramos scored an intercept try and two penalties to keep his team ahead. The visitors also put France under a lot of pressure.
With 10 minutes left, Finn Russell sprinted over the line, converted his own try, and brought the score to four points, setting up an exciting conclusion. Nevertheless, the Scots ultimately fell short.
Townsend praises team’s “best effort of the season” but laments that “little margins let feisty Scotland down in Paris.”
We’re still in the championship, says the podcast. That’s a powerful inducement.
Ruthless France surge forward
Nonetheless, the drama was enthralling from the time the ball left Stuart Hogg’s boot at kickoff, contrary to what the majority of spectators anticipated there might be.
France threw down the challenge as they pushed forward before unleashing Ntamack to score in the corner after only four minutes, clearly hurting after their first loss in more than a year to Ireland.
After only nine minutes, Scotland appeared to be in for a historic beating when Gilchrist was sent for a high tackle that hit Anthony Jelonch in the head and Dumortier crossed into the corner to make it 12-0.
But Haouas’ act of insanity, throwing himself headfirst into a clear-out on Ben White, gave Scotland an unexpected lifeline and set up an exciting game.
The visitors gained ground as a result of the prop’s second sending-off against Scotland in three years (the first being for punching Jamie Ritchie).
Ramos intercepted Russell’s long ball, dashed away, and increased the score to 19-0, although Scotland had the better opportunities. Zander Fagerson missed the line by an inch when lunging for it, and Duhan van der Merwe was pushed into touch.
Russell finally got Jones under the goal posts, but Ramos calmly swung in a penalty to make it a 15-point margin at halftime.
Six Nations desk
Scottish chance lost
Although it seemed a little harsh, Scotland increased the pressure five minutes after the game resumed. On Jones’ second touchdown, Tuipulotu and his Glasgow teammate Jones worked incredibly well together.
Russell’s deft show-and-go maneuver did, though, widen the margin enough for him to dash over and close the gap to four points, but France was simply more ruthless when it mattered.
Ramos had already made sure that France’s lead did not remain unchanged in the second half with another penalty, and it was only a mistake at the lineout that ultimately prevented Scotland from stealing the victory.
France advanced after an overthrow, and even though Scotland was able to recover the ball, skipper Ritchie received a penalty for holding on in his own 22.
That created the opening for Fickou to score the game-winning try, ending Scotland’s chances of a Grand Slam.