Scots looking to Dublin after showing fight against French
Scotland 29 France 18
Published 14/03/2016 | 02:30
It is difficult to know where to start with a win of such character and gumption, Scotland's first over France at Murrayfield for 10 years and only their second over Les Bleus in the history of the Six Nations.
That things started so badly for Scotland makes the turnaround all the more impressive. Within five minutes, France had taken the lead with a simple try.
Gael Fickou made his way through the Scotland defensive line before flattening Finn Russell. The ball was put to the wing, where Tim Visser took down Virimi Vakatawa, but not before the wing passed inside to Wesley Fofana, who offloaded to Guilhem Guirado, who powered through the tackle of Stuart Hogg.
It was Scotland who struck next after second row Alexandre Flanquart killed the ball at the ruck. Greig Laidlaw kicked the points. Scotland were soon in front. This time, the scrum power yielded the points, referee Glen Jackson penalising France for taking it down and Laidlaw kicking the points.
It was Scotland who took the initiative as they ramped up the pressure. This time it was Hogg who was the beneficiary after Peter Horne made a break to go deep inside France's 22, where he fed Richie Gray, who was dragged down just short. The ball was recycled and Alex Dunbar was also held up, but when it was moved again, Hogg stepped inside the cover to touch down.
Another try arrived when France were penalised inside Scotland's half and Duncan Taylor took a quick tap penalty and hare off up the pitch with Laidlaw in support. When Taylor managed to wriggle through Wenceslas Lauret's tackle, and Laidlaw kicked the conversion from the sidelines, Scotland were 18-5 up with half-time three minutes away.
France roared back and in injury-time played, Fickou evaded Hardie for a try which, with Trinh-Duc's conversion, made it 18-12. Scotland started the second half with a flourish, Hogg kicking a penalty from deep inside his own half. With Maxime Machenaud now kicking, France kicked two penalties.
Richie Gray and Alasdair Dickinson both came close to forcing their way over, and when Laidlaw threw out a looping miss-pass, Hogg rose and flicked it on to Visser for the wing to flop over.
A further Laidlaw penalty settled this fraught affair. Now for Dublin. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Scotland - Hogg; Seymour, Taylor, Dunbar, Visser; Russell (Horne, 6), Laidlaw (capt); Dickinson, Ford (McInally, 68), Nel (Low, 73), R Gray (Swinson, 78), J Gray, Barclay, Hardie, Strauss (Wilson, 62).
France - Spedding; Fofana, Fickou, Mermoz (Médard, 69), Vakatawa; Trinh-Duc (Plisson, 69), Machenaud (Bézy, 75); Poirot (Atonio 62), Guirado (Chat, 70), Slimani (Vincent Pelo, 62; Poirot 65), Flanquart (Vahaamahina, 52), Maestri, Lauret, Camara (Goujon, 65), Chouly.
Ref - G Jackson (New Zealand).