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France 23-27 Scotland: Six Nations ends with historic win

Scotland win away to France for the first time since 1999 to end campaign on a momentous high.

France 23-27 Scotland: Six Nations ends with historic win SNS Group

Scotland banished 22 years of hurt in Paris with a sensational Six Nations victory over France.

The men in dark blue overcame a title-chasing France and a red card to their talismanic fly half to clinch victory with the last action of an enthralling contest.

In more than 80 minutes that swung from one end to the other it was Gregor Townsend’s side who had the discipline in the final stages to seal a famous win and ensure their campaign started and ended with momentous away triumphs.

France needed four tries and a 21 point margin of victory to overhaul Wales and win the Six Nations, while Scotland were chasing a second place finish if they could win by eight points.

France notched the first points of the contest when they won a scrum penalty on Scotland’s five metre line and Romain Ntamack had the simple job of chipping it over for 3-0.

Scotland turned down the chance to kick points in kind, and it proved a good decision as a succession of pick and go drives off a maul ended with winger Duhan van der Merwe muscling across the line.

Russell kept the hosts on their toes with his kicks in behind and when the chase harvested a penalty under the posts the Racing 92 stand-off kicked Scotland into a 10-3 lead with 18 minutes played.

The visitors applied more pressure but could not add to their total and a turnover by France hooker Julien Marchand swung the momentum.

In the 28th minute Ntamack narrowed the deficit to four points, then a period of intense pressure – in which the Scots were fortunate not to have a player sin binned for their multiple infringements – ended with Brice Dulin scoring on the right wing and France leading 13-10.

That was the score at half time, but Scotland would emerge from the break down to 14 men as Stuart Hogg received the yellow card that referee Wayne Barnes had warned was coming.

This was dangerous territory for Scotland and they initially managed to hold out with some fine scramble defending but a devastating counter attack exposed the missing man in the backfield.

A chip and chase from Damien Penaud took out the last defender and he dotted down to stretch the lead to eight points.

Captain Hogg’s return to the field helped Scotland regain a foothold and they were able to narrow the scoreboard to 18-13 with 52 minutes on the clock when an offside Frenchman was penalised five metres out.

Hooker Dave Cherry was considered unlucky to lose his starting place after his two try, all action display against Italy and he spent no time making his mark when he came off the bench.

Scotland set up a maul and when the ball was ripped out of Sam Skinner’s arms Cherry gobbled up the loose possession and plunged over to score. Russell added the extras and Scotland regained the lead with 20 minutes to play.

This was now becoming a classic test match with both sides chasing targets to finish as high as they could in the final table.

A lineout penalty conceded by Scotland let France back in to the shadow of their posts, France attacked well off the set piece and Swan Rebbadj, the second row, was able to score and put Le Bleus back into a three point lead.

Scottish chances looked dim when Russell was sent off for a dangerously high fend on Dulin but a yellow card soon after for replacement France scrum half Baptiste Serin raised a flicker of hope.

Scotland turned down another chance to kick a penalty to draw level abut were frustrated as France turned them over from the lineout.

Back they came. The match looked gone when Scotland were turned over in the French 22 but Dulin kept the ball alive and the visitors got a reprieve.

Phase after punishing phase Scotland looked after the ball in the narrow channels then earned the right to go wide.

Adam Hastings spun the pass out left to Van der Merwe who stepped inside and finished with aplomb to spark scenes of joy on the field, and in living rooms the length and breadth of Scotland.

Scotland Player Ratings

Stuart Hogg 7 – Paid price for team indiscipline in the first half. His leadership drove the team on to claim victory at the death.
Darcy Graham 6 – Little opportunity to break away in open field.
Chris Harris 8 – Outstanding in defence and back to his best in the 13 jersey.
Sam Johnson 7 – Broke away with his dangerous running lines and was unlucky not to convert one such opportunity into a try.
Duhan van der Merwe 7 – A little fortunate to have his try stand as it could have been interpreted as a double move. Poor defence for Dulin try. More than compensated with a sensational extra time finish to win the match.
Finn Russell 6 – Long kicking constantly turned the French backwards. Red carded for a dangerous fend on Dulin.
Ali Price 7 – Made the most of Scotland’s front foot ball and another who is looking back to his best form.
Rory Sutherland 7 – Solid despite being asked huge questions in the scrum. Injured in the second half.
George Turner 7 – Rid himself of the yips at lineout throw time and a major asset with his carries in the loose.
Zander Fagerson 8 – Struggled to contain Baille in the scrum but a monster ball carrier who kept knock back the French wall.
Sam Skinner 7 – Picked up where he left off against Italy by looking the part in the boiler room.
Grant Gilchrist 7 – Helps the lineout function at its best and relishes role as link between forwards and backs.
Jamie Ritchie 8 – Seemed to be everywhere making tackles, clearing rucks and winning turnovers.
Hamish Watson 7 – A targeted man after his outstanding championship but still left his mark, repeatedly, on his opponents.
Nick Haining 7 – Huge performance after late call-up from the bench. Massive workrate and crashed over gainline again and again.
Replacements 7 – Kept the effort going in Scotland’s comeback.