Match Report

France bounce back in style with eight-try win over Scotland

France celebrate against Scotland
Fantastic France put Scotland to the sword in a dominant 54-12 victory at Stade Armandie.

Fantastic France put Scotland to the sword in a dominant 54-12 victory at Stade Armandie.

The hosts took a little while to find their stride but had far too much for a determined Scotland side, and the game was all-but sealed after Player of the Match Lenni Nouchi scored twice in the space of five minutes on the stroke of half time.

Then when captain Oscar Jegou dived over in extravagant fashion for France’s sixth, the champagne corks were popping as Les Bleuets stretched their unbeaten record against Scotland to 16 Under-20 Six Nations matches.

It was an emphatic response from France following their last-gasp defeat to Ireland. They remain third in the table and travel to table-toppers England after the fallow week, while Scotland face another tough test when they welcome Grand Slam hopefuls Ireland to Scotstoun.

With both sides having made a host of personnel changes from Round 2, the opening exchanges were far from free flowing as new combinations sought to work each other out.

So a little ingenuity was required to break the deadlock, and it came on eight minutes as a succession of quick passes freed Mathis Ferté to dot down in the corner.

It was France’s first entry into the Scotland 22 but the move was a reminder of their class and full-back Ferté did well to gather the final pass and touch down with the touchline just an awkward step away.

Scotland’s retort 10 minutes later could not have been more different, with a simple catch and drive leading to Rudi Brown’s third score of the Championship.

Having responded so well, Scotland boss Kenny Murray will have been disappointed at the ease with which France registered their second score as centre Arthur Mathiron exploited a gap in the defence to run home unopposed from the 10-metre line.

The Scotland rearguard was again stretched just a few moments later as another neat exchange gave Ferté the freedom of Agen and a simple inside pass allowed Léo Carbonneau, son of former scrum-half Philippe, to slide in under the posts.

Scotland were next to attack in what was fast becoming a frenetic encounter and were just inches short of the France line after the deftest of passes from Duncan Munn set Corey Tait clear.

The hooker lost his footing but Scotland recycled well, allowing second row Ruaraidh Hart to power his way over.

Scotland would surely have settled for a seven-point deficit at half time given the hosts’ dominance but their chances of an unlikely result were quickly scuppered by a quick-fire double before the interval.

Flanker Nouchi, the only player in the France squad to have started each of the first three rounds of this year’s Championship, stretched over for the bonus-point score and bundled his way over again with the last act of the half to make it 33-12.

The visitors nullified France for the opening quarter of the second period but their resistance was finally broken by another moment of quality.

Carbonneau picked up from the base of a ruck and sucked in the nearest defender before finding Jegou who certainly enjoyed his first score for his country.

Zaccharie Affane was next to cross, the 130kg replacement prop on hand to score after a careless lineout overthrow.

And they added an extra gloss to the scoreline in the closing stages, with a penalty try in the closing stage rubber-stamping what was a thoroughly assertive performance.