France gained a measure of revenge for their Six Nations defeat to Scotland by earning a hard-fought 22-15 triumph in Sunday’s Autumn Nations Cup fixture at Murrayfield.
Defeat in the Scottish capital back in March denied a formidable Les Bleus side a Grand Slam and ultimately the title as they finished second behind England on points difference.
But a gutsy defensive effort from a Scotland side aiming to win a sixth straight match was not enough to deny France this time around.
The excellent Virimi Vakatawa scored the game’s only try and Thomas Ramos kicked 14 points for a France team now favourites to finish top of Group A.
France’s reward for a sprightly start was a couple of Ramos penalties, the second brought back for offside after Vakatawa was ruled not in control of the ball when trying to ground for a try following a footrace to the corner.
— Autumn Nations Cup (@autumnnations) November 22, 2020
But it was soon Scotland’s turn to apply the pressure at the breakdown with Duncan Weir nailing a pair of kicks to level things up.
A Matthieu Jalibert drop-goal and a Ramos penalty were answered each time by Weir, who nailed a 42-metre effort to tie the game again, while expert defence withstood French pressure at the line just before half-time.
For all Scotland’s fine work in defence it was a simple move off a scrum that allowed Vincent Rattez to come in off the wing and free Vakatawa to score despite a valiant effort from Stuart Hogg shortly after the restart.
Scotland replied quickly with a Weir penalty but another three-pointer from Ramos – shortly after Gael Fickou was denied on the left flank – kept the hosts at bay.
The hosts had one last chance to snatch something with a penalty after the allotted time but Hogg wastefully kicked the ball dead to bring the final whistle.