A last-gasp Jean-Marc Doussain penalty earned a woeful France a narrow 19-17 away win over Scotland on Saturday that keeps Les Bleus on course for their first Six Nations title since 2010.
Doussain converted a routine penalty in the 78th minute to set up an exciting finale against Ireland at Stade de France on Saturday.
Ireland lead the table with six points, ahead of France on points difference before yesterday’s clash between England and Wales.
The hosts, who have not beaten Les Bleus since a 20-16 victory in the championship in 2006, scored two tries through Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour with Greig Laidlaw adding the extras, while Duncan Weir slotted home a penalty.
France, who had won 14 of their past 15 meetings with Scotland, had one Yoann Huget try to show for themselves with Maxime Machenaud’s boot providing 11 points, to which Doussain added the winning three.
“We had a good start, but some little mistakes cost us some points,” Huget told French TV channel France 2.
“We worked hard to come back into the game and we showed character,” he said.
“It was not easy. Maybe we were lacking confidence after the Wales game,” fullback Brice Dulin said.
Philippe Saint-Andre’s team, who were looking to bounce back from a 27-6 demolition by Wales, were terrible in the lineouts, unusually weak at the scrum and their paper-thin defense did little to help them.
Scotland were penalized for collapsing the scrum and Machenaud slotted home to give France a good start, then benefited from the hosts’ lack of discipline to add another penalty minutes later.
However, Huget failed to control a high ball and Hogg, who had followed his own kick, touched it down and Laidlaw added the conversion to put the Scots ahead.
France, who finished with the wooden spoon last year, briefly regained control of the scoreboard thanks to Machenaud’s boot, but Seymour benefited from a block on Jules Plisson to beat the defense and score Scotland’s second try.
Laidlaw’s conversion put them five points clear and Machenaud missed his first penalty-kick on the stroke of half-time, with the Scots leading 14-9.
However, Huget made up for his previous mistake when he intercepted a pass to make a 80m run for the line, and with Machenaud’s conversion, France took command early in the second half.
Saint-Andre, who has been tinkering with his halfback pairing since he took over from Marc Lievremont after the 2011 World Cup, replaced flyhalf Plisson with Remi Tales in the 48th minute.
France were penalized shortly after the hour for failing to roll away from a ruck, and Weir kicked the penalty.
Les Bleus came close to scoring their second try shortly afterward, but a knock-on by Maxime Mermoz’s ruined a well-crafted move.
However, Scotland found a way to lose the game.
Two minutes from time, lock Tim Swinson did not roll away after a tackle and France were awarded a penalty.
Doussain, who had replaced Machenaud three minutes earlier, easily slotted his kick between the posts to secure the win.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
OLYMPICS Delay pushes rower to retire British rowing gold medalist Tom Ransley on Friday announced his retirement after deciding that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to next year was a step too far. The 34-year-old was part of the men’s eight who won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics and also a bronze in the 2012 London Games. “I have used up everything I had and I know that to get myself in the necessary condition to compete for a seat in 2021 is a step too far,” he told the BBC. The years of early starts, of three training