Sunday, February 6, 2011
Six Nations: France wins on Muscle and Style Points...
The last Six Nations Game of the weekend gave us Scotland making a road trip to the Stade de France to take on Marc Lievremont's XV de France.
The match was played in front of a full house in nearly perfect conditions for Paris in early February.
Scotland had the early ball possession after the kick-off, but after some runs at the French, the Scots lost their patience, the ball, and he lead when Rougerie got the ball and made a really nice chip that Medard touched down for the first try of the game. The French did not sit back on their lead, they transformed several phases in the Scottish end for François Trinh-Duc to slot over an easy drop goal. The Montpellier fly-half would end up having a gem of a game-but for him later.
In the 18th minute, sustained Scottish drive and ball control was rewarded when captain Allister Kellock slid low to touch the ball down for the Scot's first try.
Scotland just could not get back into the game, as they continued to shoot themselves in the foot with a poor kicking game, but their most glaring deficiency on the night in St. Denis was their scrum. France-in spite of being out-weighed by a good 10-12 pounds per forward, was having their way with the Scottish Scrum. The Front row of Mas, Servat and Domingo made life miserable for the Scots all night.(Scottish tight head Murray had a really rough time against Domingo) The French pack scored a try of their own when prolonged Scottish infractions in the scrum led to France (on the 4th re-set on the scrum) powering the Scottish front row to where they were standing up. English referee Wayne Barnes awarded the penalty try.
In spite of being outplayed, Scotland still could have been only 3 points down at half time. They were deep in French territory, but again they became impatient and lost possession again just before half time.
In the 54th Minute, France scored the try of the game when they got control of a loose ball from the Scots, François Trinh-Duc made a blind, between the legs pass out to the wing, and Biarritz's Imanol Harinordiquy finished off this glorious movement by putting the ball down for the try.
With the French crowd singing La Marseillaise, the Scots could have just rolled up and died. They showed a great deal of heart by battling on. Kelly Brown made some hard runs that were capped off with a try to try to make it closer, but Damian Traille created a try out of lose play that would put the Scots away.
France's 34-21 win over the Scots was certainly a tonic for Marc Lievremont and his men, who have had a rough go since winning last years Six Nations in Grand Slam fashion.
Scotland ran hard at the French. They broke several tackles and they are going to give the other Six Nations sides a tough outing. They are really going to have to sort out their tactical kicking issues and their scrum to finish in the top half of this year's Six Nations. All in all though, it was a very, very entertaining game.