France sees red twice but still too strong for Scotland

DAVID BARNES @ The DAM Health Stadium

THEY were down to 14 men after just 13 minutes of that game, then down to 13 men in the 69th minute, and they were pretty unruly throughout with 15 penalties spat in the 80 minutes, but France’s superior pace , power and attacking sharpness meant they still managed to emerge as comfortable winners over their less experienced opponents, who deserve credit for hanging on to keep him respectable.

It was Scotland’s third rebound defeat in this Six Nations campaign and the most demoralizing to date as they were never really in the competition despite playing the vast majority of the match with more players on the pitch. . It’s been 23 months since Scotland tasted victory at this level, and they now face two tough away games as they fight to avoid back-to-back Six Nations shutouts. Next up is Italy – who have already beaten England this campaign – in a fortnight, followed by the Grand Slam chasing Ireland the following weekend.

‘We were muscular, to be honest,’ conceded Scotland head coach Kenny Murray then. “We lost the physical battle for the most part, and we couldn’t throw our set piece – we weren’t precise enough at times during the lineout and we couldn’t get a sort of parity in scrums – so we couldn’t create any kind of pressure.


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“I’m disappointed with some collisions,” he continued. “They were very aggressive in their ball carrying and there were times when we just weren’t good enough to handle that. So those are big parts of the game that we need to look at and we need to be better.

Murray recently left as Glasgow Warriors assistant coach to become Scottish Rugby’s ‘head of player transition’, with coaching the Under-20s as part of his new duties. While he didn’t appreciate the full scale of the challenge he faced before, he no longer doubts how important it is to find ways to regularly expose this country’s best young players to a rugby game. high level.

Too few of the 16 home players on this matchday squad have had enough regular playing time at an appropriate level to be ready for this type of challenge, raising serious questions about creating the game’s Super6 tier. Scottish club. for. Players don’t have a fair chance to be truly competitive.

“There is no doubt that the level at which these boys are playing in France is much higher than most of our boys, so that is something we have to continue to work on,” admitted Murray. “We have to keep pushing the guys, be it in Super6 and giving the players more game time there… we could see tonight that the physical difference was day and night.

“The boys stayed, especially after half-time when France had this strong wind at their backs, and I think the boys who came off the bench brought real energy, so I’m really happy with that impact.

“But it was a big learning curve for these guys. It will be the toughest rugby game some of these guys have played in their lives. The Super6 is there to try to provide that higher level of performance opportunity, and while some guys played there last year, I think a lot more will play there this year, with the sprint series starting in April.

Call of the 2022 season

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Scotland tried to score early when they won a ruck penalty from kicking distance in the first minute and went for the corner. It came to nothing, but the home side worked through the phases and when another French ruck indiscretion offered a second bite to the cherry, the captain Rhys Tait pointed at the sticks, and Robin McLintock – a Frenchman with a Scottish grandfather – took the points.

France appeared slightly unstable, with Jefferson-Joseph fumbling a relatively straightforward collection of kicks a few minutes later but once they snapped in they wasted no time bullying their way to parity with heavy charges pushing the Scots to concede a penalty without rolling in front of the posts, for stand-off Emile Dayral to score points.

Dayral missed a chance to give his team the lead a few minutes later, his shot on goal caught in the strong wind, then France suffered what would have been a major setback in a tighter game when Joseph was caught off guard. and ended up colliding with Mc Lintock. He was judged by the referee Clara Munarini – cajoled by the TMO – to be a red card. Player safety is, of course, absolutely paramount, and Mc Lintcok had to opt for an HIA (he came back nine minutes later), but it’s debatable whether Joseph even made a tackle, instead of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. . The question is whether referees should judge the action or the result? Because in a fast and complicated sport, these two things are not always the same.

France didn’t let the loss of their winger make them lose their rhythm, and they almost immediately scored an excellent length try from the park, kicked off by a No.8 pick-up and offload from Theo Ntamack – the latest product of this august rugby gene – with Louis Le Brun, Emilien Gailleton (twice) and Enzo Reybier all churning out pace, power and crisp handling, before Dayral threaded a grubber forward, which Esteban Capilla picked up and stretched out on the line.

Dayral fell short with the conversion but was on target with a penalty when a Scottish line-out knockdown prompted another sweeping French attack that split Scotland, before Mikey Jones was penalized during a ruck in front of the posts, with half an hour of play.

Despite being a man down, France were now fully dominant, and they claimed the number two try through Robin Bellemand after another impressive display of power and precision with the ball in hand.

The Scottish tacklers looked like mere speed bumps at this stage, but they woke up to a positive five-minute half-time finish, using the strong wind at their back and French indiscipline to build up the pressure , but their overflowing set piece meant they couldn’t. turn that into points.

Call of the 2022 season

We hope you enjoy our unrivaled coverage of Scottish rugby. As the mainstream media continues to reduce interest in Scotland’s rugby family, The Offside Line is doing its best to ensure all levels of the national game are reported.

Our commitment to the game and sharing its stories means we have no paywall, so we’re asking you (only if you can!) to support The Offside Line, either with a one-time donation or a monthly contribution .

We’ve kept Scottish rugby in the news since 2016 and will have 3 million views this year, making The Offside Line number one for Scottish rugby.

France wasted no time in decisively putting the game away from the Scots – if they hadn’t already – at the start of the second half, when the center and the captain Emilien Gailleton went over for the number three try, to extend his side’s lead to 20 points, but the visitors then eased for 10 minutes and Scotland dug deep to claim a try through a prop replacement clamp head Callum Norrie.

It brought life back to France and they claimed hooker try number four Connor Sa with 15 minutes left in the game, before picking up their second red card, shown to the back row substitute Jules Coules for one end tackle on Andy Stirrat.

Scotland clinched a late second-row consolation scoreline Josh Taylor, with McLintock’s conversion, but overall it was a pretty demoralizing night from a house perspective.

Teams –

Scotland: R McClintock (B Evans 13-22); R McKnight, D Munn (T Glendinning 71), A Stirrat, O Melville (B Evans 41); C Townsend, M Redpath (J Cope 69); M Jones (A Rogers 34), P Harrison (G Hiddleston 50), G Scougall (C Norrie 41), J Taylor, M Williamson, M Deehan (R Brown 69), T Tait (T Brown 46), O Leatherbarrow.

France: In Bevia; Joseph J, Gailleton E, Le Brun L, Reybier E; E Dayral (E Randle 65), B Jauneau (S Tarel 69)_; M Perchaud (T Moukoro 55), C Sa, R Bellemand, S M’Foudi (T Cretu, 55), H Auradou, L Banos, E Capilla (J Coulon 63), T Ntamack (N Della Schiava 67).

Arbitrator: Clara Munarini (Italy)

Scorers –

Scotland: Try: Norrie, Taylor; Con: McLintiock 2; Pen: McLintock;

France: Try: Capilla, Bellemand, Gailleton, Sa; Cons: Dayral 2; Pen: Dayral 2.

Scoring sequence (Scotland first): 3-0; 3-3; 3-8; 3-11; 3-16; 3-18 (ht) 3-23; 8-23; 10-23; 10-28; 10-30; 15-30; 17-30.

Red cards –

France: Joseph (13min), Coulon (69min)

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