France held by the skin of their teeth for a narrow win to remain unbeaten in this year’s Six Nations as brave Scotland fell short in an action packed game at Murrayfield.
The Scots stunned the away side by racing into a 10-0 lead after Stuart Hogg, on his test debut, touched down in the corner after just eight minutes. This was followed by a Grieg Laidlaw penalty on 25 minutes as the home side looked more than happy taking the game to the French.
However as it always the case with France, a touch of magic from out-half Trin-Duc and winger Vincent Clerc set up centre Wesley Fofana for France’s first try three minutes later. The Clermont man weaved his way through the Scottish defense to crash over the line and Morgan Parra converted.
Scotland dominated large periods of the match but failed to put les Blues away and Parra kicked another penalty to level up the game at 10-10 at half-time.
The French scrum-half added another penalty after the re-start and it looked as if the French would push on but Scotland had other ideas and a turnover at a ruck saw the Scots break away through De Luca who off loaded to winger Lee Jones who ran over the line unopposed on 56 minutes.
A shock win looked on the cards but just like the opening try, France responded almost immediately. A superb running line from Maxime Medard allowed Julien Malzieu to simply pop-pass to the on rushing full-back to score France’s second try of the game and potentially seal the win. Parra’s conversion gave the away side a three point lead with 20 minutes to play but it was Scotland who were playing all the rugby.
Lionel Beauxis introduction seemed to calm the French backline just as Scotland seemed to be running out of steam. The Toulouse out-half coolly slotted home a dropped goal on 68 minutes and that was enough for France to claim all three points before the arrival of Ireland in next week’s rearranged fixture.