France fought hard for a 23-17 win over Scotland in Edinburgh.
Scotland were very impressive in the opening quarter and looked capable of recording their first victory over Les Beus in six years. However, errors at crucial moments were duly punished by France, who took advantage of the hosts’ defensive lapses and ill-discipline to secure a comeback win.
Scotland dominated from the outset, as they camped inside the French red zone for the first eight minutes of the match. Their efforts were rewarded with a try for debutant fullback Stuart Hogg, who showed great pace to dive in at the corner. Flyhalf Greig Laidlaw secured a 10-point advantage when he added a conversion, then slotted a penalty moments later.
But in typical fashion, Scotland failed to build on to their early ascendancy as France drew level before the break. Inside centre Wesley Fofana grabbed his second try in only his second Test as he beat four defenders on route to the whitewash. Scrumhalf Morgan Parra kicked five points to see the scoreboard read 10-10 at half-time.
France edged ahead for the first time in the match early in the second stanza, when Parra slotted his second penalty. Scotland surprised again though, when they scored against a run of play. Fofana was tackled in centre field, and a turnover sparked a counter attack. Smart interplay saw the ball moved wide and wing Lee Jones dotted down.
It didn’t take long for France to regain the lead as a defensive lapse saw fullback Maxime Medard score a telling try two minutes later. Replacement flyhalf Lionel Beauxis then settled the result with a drop goal.
By Gareth Duncan