Guinness Six Nations Championship
Scotland turn on style as French lose their discipline
Double: Sean Maitland scored twice (pic: SNS Group)
Scotland 28 France 17
Scotland produced their most encouraging display of the championship as they wrecked the Grand Slam hopes of an ill-disciplined French team.
The visitors had run out at Murrayfield full of confidence with three wins already tucked away.
However, any chance they had of taking the spoils of victory back across the Channel all but evaporated with the sending off of Mohamed Haouas towards the end of the first half.
The No. 3 was dismissed for punching Jamie Ritchie with his side 7-6 ahead, Damian Penaud having earlier gone over for the visitors.
Scotland took immediate advantage with Sean Maitland diving over in the corner to hand the hosts the momentum going in at the break.
The same player repeated the dose moments after the restart when he touched down following a brilliant move from deep after French pressure to extend a lead they never looked like relinquishing.
Stuart McInally went over for Scotland’s third try of the afternoon and although Charles Ollivon restored some French pride late on, Gregor Townsend’s men chalked up their second successive win after the 17-0 victory over Italy in Rome.
It was a good performance from the Scots, with Adam Hastings catching the eye with 13 points, but one which has to be tempered by the fact they had an extra man for around 55 minutes.
They maintained their focus, though, and met the challenge in front of them at Murrayfield, leaving Townsend a happy man at the final whistle.
“We had opportunities in the second half but we stuck at it and it’s a very good win at home,” he said.
“The try just before half-time gave us a big boost and it was great to see that getting finished.
“We just felt with the pressure we could put on France in the second half, maybe we could have got one or two more.
“We could’ve done better in the last 10-15 minutes, but I was very proud of how we started the game. We were very physical in the tackle, sharp when we had opportunities to move the ball.”
France head home to lick their wounds after a fourth successive loss in Edinburgh and knowing that poor discipline has perhaps cost them not only the Grand Slam but the championship as well.
They are on the same points level as England at the top of the table but have an inferior points difference.
A bonus-point win over Ireland may not prove enough for Les Blues as England, who defeated Wales 33-30, have still to play Italy in their final match, that clash having been postponed due to coronavirus.
Scotland: Tries – Maitland (2), McInally; Conversions – Hastings 2; Penalties – 3.
France: Tries – Peanaud, Ollivon; Conversions – Jalibert 2; Penalties – Jalibert.