Saint-Andre: Scotland will beat a big team soon

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre says it will not be long before Scotland beat a “fantastic team” after his team survived a scare in the Six Nations at Murrayfield.

The Rugby World Cup finalists eventually emerged with a 23-17 victory but only after falling 10-0 behind early on as they failed to cope with the pace of the hosts’ game.

Teenage full-back Stuart Hogg, making his first Test start, rocked France with an eighth-minute try and in the second half wing Lee Jones race over for his maiden international try.

But France were level at half-time at 10-10 after centre Wesley Fofana scored his second try in as many Tests and, on the hour mark, full-back Maxime Medard also crossed Scotland’s line.

However, one aspect of a see-saw clash which did live up to its pre-match billing came when a powerful France pack dominated Scotland at the scrum, particularly in a second half where the visiting forwards finally managed to exert a measure of control.

Well though Scotland played — and this was an improvement on their previous defeats this tournament by England and Wales — Sunday’s reverse represented a fifth successive loss dating back to the World Cup.

But Saint-Andre said even Scotland’s losing displays in New Zealand had given his coaching staff pause for thought.

“The difference between winning and losing is in small details,” said Saint-Andre, who replaced fellow former France international Marc Lievremont after the World Cup.

“When you look at Scotland’s last four games, in the World Cup they lost in the last minute to Argentina and the try by England (in New Zealand) was in the 77th minute.

“Against England again in the Six Nations, Scotland created four or five opportunities but one turnover and England won the game.

“And against Wales they had control of the first half and then they had a yellow card and Wales scored two tries.

“We just said ‘we’re worried, we hope it wouldn’t be us’. I’m sure Scotland will very soon beat a fantastic team because they have some fantastic players.

“Our bench was quality and I think they bring so much power in the scrum. Maybe the difference in the second half was our strength in the scrum.”

Victory made it two wins out of two for France, who saw Medard suffer a potentially serious leg injury.

It kept them on course for a possible Grand Slam finale away to Wales, the only other unbeaten side left in this season’s Six Nations.

But France now play Ireland, England and Wales on successive weekends, starting this Sunday against the Irish after the original fixture was postponed because of a frozen Paris pitch.

“I’m proud of my team, it was hard but we didn’t panic,” said Saint-Andre.

“We need to recover quickly because we have one day’s less rest than Ireland and it’s a huge game for us next Sunday at the Stade de France, if it’s not freezing.”

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