Women’s Six Nations 2018: Scotland 3-26 France
|Scotland (3) 3|
|France (12) 26|
|Tries: Sochat, Banet, Boujard, Le Pesq Cons: Tremouulier 3|
Scotland Women were beaten 26-3 by France in their second 2018 Six Nations game at Scotstoun.
Sarah Law gave the hosts a brief lead with a penalty, but tries from Agathe Sochat and Cyrielle Banet helped France to a 12-3 half-time lead.
France continued to dominate after the break, but it took until nine minutes from time for Caroline Boujard to add to the scoreline.
And Jade le Pesq’s late try ensured a bonus-point win for France.
It is the second disappointment for Scotland in this year’s campaign after a tight 18-17 defeat by Wales in Colwyn Bay last weekend.
The bad luck started before the whistle when Sarah Bonar was forced to withdraw through injury, meaning last-minute changes to the starting 15.
Siobhan McMillan was brought in to earn her first cap as loose-head prop, while Jade Konkal moved to number eight, a position she is no stranger to.
Scotland started brightly, though, holding off a fiery France attack with solid defence.
Benefiting from numerous French unenforced errors in the opening few minutes, Scotland picked up momentum.
Seven minutes in and the first look of Scotland’s confidence came as they exploded through the French defence; only a huge hit on skipper Lisa Martin stopped them in their tracks.
Handling problems affected both sides throughout the game with neither team able to control the ball for too long.
And after a dominant scrum, France chose to take a penalty to get some points on the board.
With France’s Jessy Tremouulier kicking and missing, Scotland took advantage through Law’s kick, the first time Scotland Women have scored against a French opponent in six games.
With 32 minutes gone, France were unable to stop an ever approaching Scotland pack, and after five infringements in a row by the visitors, Patricia Capricaburu was sin-binned.
Just when it looked like France were damaging their own chances, a quick kick to the corner gave France the close range they needed to drive towards their try line and Sochat pushed over, Tremouliere failing to convert.
A brilliant crosskick from Pauline Bourdan picked up by Banet secured another try, this time successfully kicked by Tremouliere.
The visitors continued to dominate after the restart and there was a contentious moment when French number eight Romane Menager broke through the Scotland line and prompted a ruck that drove over and would have been try number three, but it was disallowed.
The third did arrive when Boujard skipped through Scotland’s line to score.
And it went from bad to worse for the home side when in the closing minutes Jade le Pesq grounded the ball into base of the post.
It ended with victory for the visitors, but despite this it was a far cry from the usual calibre expected of France.
Although the scoreline depicts a different story, much can be taken from Scotland’s defensive performance.
Scotland head coach Shade Munro: “I’m really proud of them, it was a really physical battle out there, certainly with the conditions. France are a really physical team, huge ability, third in the world.
“Given how we played last week, we didn’t front up – if that’s a fair thing to say – in the first half, we certainly did in the second half.
“The challenge was that we took the game to the French right from the word go and they certainly did that.
“I was proud of their attitude and the way that they applied themselves.”
Scotland: Rollie, Musgrove, Thomson, Nelson, Lloyd, Martin (capt), Law, Konkel, Skeldon, Kennedy, Wassell, McCormack, Malcolm, Smith, McMillan.
Replacements: Rettie, McMillan, Smith, Lowish, Cattigan, Maxwell, Harris.
France: Tremouliere, Boujard, Le Pesq, Boudaud, Banet, Bourdon, Rivoalen, Arricastre, Sochat, Carricaburu, N’Diaye, Forlani, Mayans, Hermet (capt), R Menager
Replacements: Soloch, Traore, Duval, Ferer, Lecat, Coudert, Vernier, M Menager.