This game could have been anybodys! Scotland were desperately unlucky to fall at the final hurdle with a costly mistake, allowing Damien Traille’s late try to take France ahead. A draw would have been a far fairer result!
By two minutes into the second half, three Chris Paterson penalties meant that the Scots had a thoroughly well deserved 9-0 lead, against a French side that (for the first half at least) looked like they didn’t want to show up! Shortly after Yann Delaigue cut Scotlands lead to just three points.
Allister Hogg’s try was ruled out for a foot in touch, before Delaigue’s drop goal set the scores level and Traille went over late on.
Scotlands limited gameplan was efficiently executed and they looked the better side for large portions of the match! The French made a host of mistakes in the first half and they were little better in the second.
Scotland were on the board after just three minutes, thanks to a Paterson penalty after Andy Craig making an initial break.
France had trouble creating any chances, one Christophe Dominici break was about all they could manage, as the Scots controlled the first 20 minutes.
Delaigue, who is only third choice kicker for his club, twice missed kickable penalties for France. With just five minutes left of the half he handed over to Traille, but his effort was even worse than Delaigue’s two attempts!!
Chris Cusiter broke and set up another penalty for Paterson which he slotted home to send the Scots in 6-0 up at the break.
France launched a final assault to end the half, but the Scots’ defence stood strong and the hosts left the field with the jeers and whistles of the home crowd ringing in their ears!
After the break Paterson put away his third penalty within two minutes, but was promptly penalised for holding onto the ball after it went dead Delaigue finally landed the first points of the day for France.
The French fly-half soon added a second penalty and with 25 minutes to go the hosts only trailed by three points.
Hogg thought he had raced over from the 10m line but was called back for a foot in touch, (more like a stud in touch from the replay!).
France levelled at 9-9 through a Delaigue drop goal after Jon Petrie had been yellow carded and then the drama really unfolded!
Southwell was faced by three Frenchmen as he tried to clear and when his kick was charged down Traille was on hand to power over. Frederic Michalak converted to put a gloss on the scoreline as France escaped with a fortunate victory!!
P Elhorga; A Rougerie, B Liebenberg, D Traille, C Dominici; Y Delaigue, P Mignoni; S Marconnet, W Servat, P de Villiers; F Pelous (capt), J Thion; J Bonnaire, S Chabal, P Tabacco.
Replacements: S Bruno, O Milloud, G Lamboley, Y Nyanga, D Yachvili, F Michalak, L Valbon.
C Paterson; S Danielli, A Craig, H Southwell, S Lamont; D Parks, C Cusiter; T Smith, G Bulloch (capt), G Kerr; S Grimes, S Murray; J White, A Hogg, J Petrie.
Replacements: R Russell, B Douglas, N Hines, J Dunbar, M Blair, G Ross, B Hinshelwood.
Referee: Nigel Williams (Wales).