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Hapless Scotland crash to heavy loss to clinical France

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Published in Rugby
Saturday, 17 August 2019 14:03

Scotland's World Cup build-up got off to a poor start as they were crushed by an impressive France side in Nice.

The hosts claimed the initiative within two minutes through Alivereti Raka's try and never looked back.

Maxime Medard and Gregory Alldritt scored further first-half tries, with Medard and Antoine Dupont crossing after the break as the free-flowing French ran riot.

The sides meet again at Murrayfield next weekend.

Scottish trips to France have brought little joy in the past two decades and the most recent visit in February was one of the more painful ones.

Memories of that Paris pummelling came flooding back when France struck early. A botched Scotland line-out deep in their own territory gave the home side a sniff, and there was no stopping Raka when he came thundering into the line to take Wesley Fofana's clever inside pass.

Camille Lopez's conversion and subsequent penalty established a handy 10-point lead, and that soon became 15 when Medard went over in the corner after some soft Scotland defence in the build-up.

Adam Hastings got Scotland on the board with a penalty, but they were looking rusty. The set-piece was poor and whenever they did break through the France defence through the likes of Stuart Hogg or Ali Price, a lack of patience and accuracy led to the chance disappearing.

This may have been a warm-up game, but France brought a Test match level of intensity and physicality that Scotland struggled to deal with.

With Hastings in the sin-bin, Alldritt added the finishing touch after the France pack overpowered their opponents with a rolling maul to end the first half as it began.

France's big ball-carriers continued to blast holes in the Scotland defence after the break as Francois Cros careered through a gap and Medard was given a run to the line for his second try.

Damian Penaud carved Scotland open with a weaving run and put in Dupont for try number five and by now the visitors were going down with barely a whimper.

Rory Hutchinson came off the bench for his international debut and showed some nice touches after replacing Duncan Taylor, who came through almost 50 minutes on his Test return after two injury-ravaged years.

In terms of positives for Gregor Townsend from this match, that was about it.

France, for their part, suddenly look like they could be a force to be reckoned with in Japan.

'This isn't progression, it's worrying'

BBC Scotland's chief sports writer Tom English

It's pretty worrying stuff. Scotland just weren't at the races at all. I know it's their first game, but it was France's first game as well. It would be too simplistic to say 'it's just the first game'. It's the continuation of a trend.

Scotland have conceded an average of four tries a game across the last six matches. An average of 26 points conceded across those games. Unless they get the defence sorted out, you can forget about it. This isn't progression. This is worrying.

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