Six Nations title holder France beat Scotland 34-21 in its tournament opener in Paris, Saturday. It was something of a redemption match for the French, who were mauled 59-16 by Australia in their last appearance here in November.
AFP - Defending champions France won their opening Six Nations match in sparkling fashion at the Stade de France on Saturday defeating Scotland 34-21 on the 100th anniversary of their first ever win in the tournament.
The hosts, who had exited to jeers on their last appearance here in November's 59-16 mauling by Australia, outscored the visitors by four tries to three for whom captain Alistair Kellock recorded his first at Test level.
Defeat, however, left the Scots winless in Paris since 1999.
"I'm pleased with the way we played, but frustrated and disappointed that they scored four tries when we had the ball," said Scotland coach Andy Robinson.
"We have to be ruthless in Test match rugby - that's the key area we have to improve."
France skipper Thierry Dusautoir was delighted to get the championship off to a winning start.
"We are especially relieved to have won the first match of the Six Nations. There were a lot of nerves before we went onto the pitch, but it was great to hear the applause from the fans."
Kellock admitted there are lessons to be learnt ahead of next week's home match against Wales.
"Our effort was outstanding, but you get no points for effort," said the skipper.
"We scored good tries but some of the stuff the French played was outstanding. There are lessons to be learned - they scored tries from turnovers."
France got off to the ideal start as Scotland centre Nick de Luca lost possession when tackled inside the Scottish half, allowing Dusautoir to pass to Aurelien Rougerie.
The veteran winger, switched to centre for the match, produced a beautifully weighted grubber kick which eluded Nikki Walker and was collected by Maxime Medard, who touched down for his seventh try in 16 Tests.
Morgan Parra converted from wide out on the left for a 7-0 lead, and after a rousing backs-inspired move fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc dropped a goal to extend the advantage inside the first 10 minutes.
However, the Scots, showing what a different side they are to the demoralised one that coach Andy Robinson inherited in 2009, steadied the ship and were rewarded just before the 20-minute mark with a try by Kellock.
Neat passing down the right created an opening which was accentuated by rampaging blond-haired lock Richie Gray, who tore deep inside the 22.
And after another probing run by Rory Lawson, Kellock was on hand to burrow over - Dan Parks converted to make it 10-7 to the hosts.
The French scrum had the measure of their opponents, who were fielding their heaviest ever pack, and after the Scots were penalised several times by referee Wayne Barnes for bringing down the scrum close to the line, the official awarded the hosts a penalty try.
Parra converted to take France into the break at 17-7.
The hosts looked to have put the match beyond the Scots with a stunning try in the 55th minute.
Trinh-Duc fashioned it out of nothing with an audacious pass between his legs to Imanol Harinordoquy, who then stepped neatly inside Kelly Brown and with no other defenders between him and the tryline the 30-year-old ran in from well outside the 22.
Dimitri Yachvili, on for Parra, converted to make it 24-7.
The Scots, though, replied with a try of their own as after sustained pressure, with Gray once again to the fore, Brown redeemed himself by breaking two tackles to cross the line - Parks converted to make it 24-14.
France finally killed off any hopes of a Scottish revival with just over 10 minutes remaining when veteran Damien Traille rounded off a stunning move initiated by an incisive run by Medard. Yachvili converted for 31-14.
But there was still time for the plucky Scots to grab a third try as Sean Lamont touched down and Ruairidh Jackson converted.
Yachvili gave France the last laugh as he landed a penalty.
Date created : 2011-02-05