France beat Scotland in Six Nations

France held on to their unbeaten status in the Six Nations when they beat Scotland 17-23 at Murrayfield on Saturday.


Both teams scored two tries each with Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg scoring first to end Scotland’s try drought.


Victory made it two wins out of two for the French, whose previous encounter against Ireland was postponed because of a frozen pitch in Paris.


But the cold truth on Sunday for an improved Scotland was they’d suffered a fifth straight defeat — and third in as many matches this Six Nations.


Tries from teenager Stuart Hogg and wing Lee Jones gave Scotland hope but these were cancelled out by scores from France centre Wesley Fofana and full-back Maxime Medard, while scrum-half Morgan Parra kicked 10 points.


France captain Thierry Dusautoir admitted his side had been caught cold by the Scots, who lost much needed impetus when Edinburgh half-back duo Mike Blair and Greig Laidlaw went off injured either side of the interval.


“We were taken aback by by the rhythm and dynamism of the Scots in the opening 15 minutes,” said the flanker, who was outstanding when he captained France in an 8-7 World Cup final defeat by the All Blacks.


“We got back into it little by little and found our own rhythm and gradually asserted ourselves on the match against a really good Scottish side.”


Scotland’s Ross Rennie was named man-of-the-match after an impressive display but that was little consolation to the openside flanker.


“We put in another massive effort and to come away with nothing, everyone is pretty down. We made some good breaks and scored some good tries, but on turnover attack the French were awesome and we let them be good.


“Hoggy made a couple of outstanding breaks, I thought he had a great game, he is certainly one to watch.”


Scotland spent the opening few minutes encamped in France’s 22 but it looked like being an all-too familar story when, after several phases against resolute French defence, they knocked on.


But France knocked on themselves from the ensuing scrum and handed possession back to Scotland.


Laidlaw shifted the ball to the blindside and quick hands from Jones sent the diving full-back Hogg in at the right corner in the eighth minute as the 19-year-old, making his first Test start, became Scotland’s youngest try-scorer in 79 years.


Laidlaw converted and Scotland were 7-0 up.


Blair then caused more panic in the visitors’ defence with a quickly-taken tap penalty before Dusautoir dumped prop Geoff Cross with a shuddering hit.


Laidlaw then kicked a penalty from a ruck infringement after No 8 David Denton and captain Ross Ford had surged downfield and Scotland, against virtually all expectations, were 10-0 in front in the 26th minute.


France though eventually showed their class two minutes later when fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc went straight through an attempted challenge by Laidlaw.


Quick hands from Parra and Vincent Clerc then sent in Fofana, running a sharp angle, for what was the centre’s second try in as many Tests.


Parra converted and Scotland’s lead was down to 10-7.


One area where France were maintaining their anticipated advantage was the scrum and when Scotland collapsed the set-piece shortly before half-time, Parra kicked a 35 metre penalty.


But he missed another before the break as a breathless first half ended all square at 10-10.


After the frenetic opening 40 minutes, France resumed in more composed fashion with their pack driving through several phases before Scotland infringed. Parra kicked the 47th minute penalty and France, who had been 10 points behind, were now three in front at 13-10.


Even so, it was Scotland who scored the next try.


Flanker John Barclay forced a turnover at a ruck and was then back on his feet to feed Nick de Luca.


The ball was then worked to Jones as the wing went

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