Scotland shower the ambition of Grand Slam of XV of France

On the ground, Grégory Alldritt sees Stuart McInally celebrating the third Scottish test.
On the ground, Grégory Alldritt sees Stuart McInally celebrating the third Scottish test. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

Would they manage to follow up? Would they offer this "final in Paris" for a hypothetical Grand Slam they dreamed of without (too much) admitting it? After three victories to start the Six Nations Tournament and the mandate of coach of Fabien Galthié, the XV of France moved, Sunday March 8, in Scotland, to validate its progress. They came across a thistle. Dominated by the Scots, Charles Ollivon's teammates bowed logically in a crowded and sunny Murrayfield stadium (28-17).

Relive the match live: Scotland-France: beaten, the Blues say goodbye to their dreams of Grand Slam

If the Scots have abandoned their navy blue jersey for a softer blueberry, the XV of the Thistle still stings. Strong from two frustrating games lost in Ireland (12-19) – after having harvested a test opportunity at the end of the match – and against England (6-13) in Dantesque conditions, the men of Gregor Townsend heard better negotiate their third confrontation against a "big" Tournament. It's done. And the teammates of the Stuart Hogg wheel have embraced their role as "bad guys", placed on the road of a blue wave to which everything had smiled until then.

They didn’t focus on "Cheat" supposed Blues in melee. They left that to the Welsh, with the result that we know. But the Scots had announced they wanted to look the Blues in the eyes. And their start to the game more than answered. Especially since unlike their performances against England or Wales, the Blues have multiplied the faults – eleven penalties conceded in total. "At the high level, you have to keep calm even when everything is against you", insisted Paul Willemse after the meeting.

A first dark period

Because the glitches, too, have accumulated on the shoulders of his teammates. And the Blues sometimes felt that the sky was falling on their heads. In the first period in particular, everything that could go wrong happened. After deploring the injury of Camille Chat, the hooker "finisher" (to use Fabien Galthié's expression) during the warm-up, François Cros received a yellow card – orange – for a dangerous tackle after less than five minutes of then Romain Ntamack came out of the field on concussion protocol. Finally, the pillar Mohammed Haouas was sanctioned with a red card for a quagmire on a Scotsman during a general fight. "Until now, we had managed to do better in the first period", imagined Fabien Galthié.

Despite their troubles, the Blues were the first to cross the test line, relying on Damian Penaud. Wounded for the start of the tournament, the winger signed his return from a corner try following a beautiful inspiration at the foot of Dupont. Action without a future. Because, frustrated, the Scots resumed their march forward; and, back in the 22 m French, took advantage of the "general" to get their hands on the match. "Obviously, in our sport, if you punch, you get a red card", philosophized Gregor Townsend after the meeting. The Scottish coach however refused to make this action the turning point of the match. "I found that we played better in the first half than in the second. "

The analysis: Like a wind of change in the XV of France

"We have not been good"

A test at the very end of the first period rewarded Sean Maitland and his family. A repeat offender in the second half, the XV thistle winger embodied the Scottish game. And the inability of the Blues to stop it. "We didn't put the ingredients to beat them, regretted Gaël Fickou after the match. Without taking their credit from the Scots. They were good and realistic. They did nothing extraordinary, but they played on our mistakes. That’s what’s frustrating: when the team wins and has a great game, there’s nothing to say, it’s us who were not good. "

"Great memories are brought about by great opportunities, concluded Stuard Hogg, the Scottish captain after the game. And today, it was one of establishing ourselves as a nation. " He and his partners have "Grab the momentum" and could enjoy their lap of honor on a new sunny lawn after the passage of a double rainbow over Murrayfield. The French, themselves, met in the middle of the field. "We tried to take advantage of this feeling, assured Charles Ollivon. To never forget it. "

They don’t want this Scottish shower to wipe away the slate of over a month of hard work. "You have to bounce back, so as not to sink", said Gregory Alldritt, after a "Rough match". Next Saturday, the Stade de France will provide an initial assessment of this new team. Who with three victories and one defeat, now occupies second place in the Tournament behind the English.

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