France v Scotland through the years

The Auld Alliance between France and Scotland dates back to the 13th century and was described by Charles de Gaulle as the oldest alliance in the world.

The Auld Alliance between France and Scotland dates back to the 13th century and was described by Charles de Gaulle as the oldest alliance in the world.

From a rugby perspective, meetings between the two have provided some magnificent matches, iconic moments and one of the most dramatic finishes in the Championship’s great history.

As Les Bleus prepare to host Scotland at the Stade de France on Saturday, we have taken a look back at some of the most memorable encounters.

In the context of the Championship, the meeting at Murrayfield in 1980 did not have a huge bearing in a year when England claimed the Grand Slam.

However France full-back Serge Gabernet produced one moment of magic worthy of any of the great French three-quarters.

Collecting a high ball, Gabernet escaped the tackle of Jim Renwick, produced a devastating step and cut through the heart of the Scottish defence.

Just before reaching the 22 he fed Jean-Luc Averous inside him and as Steve Munro got back to haul in the winger, Gabernet was back on hand to collect and cross.

Scotland won 22-14 thanks to an Andy Irvine double, but Gabernet’s score will live long in the memory.

In 1978 France played Wales in the first-ever true Grand Slam decider. Six years on they went to Scotland for the second.

With Philippe Sella and Didier Codorniou, France had one of the great centre partnerships, and came in with huge confidence, but Scotland had their own reasons for optimism.

It was the visitors who dominated the first half at Murrayfield, Jerome Gallion scoring the first try of the game off the back of a scrum.

However Scotland roared back, and with three minutes to go the game was level at 12-12. A long kick forward forced Codorniou to hurriedly clear into touch. Scotland had the attacking lineout and after a scramble it was Jim Calder who grasped gratefully at the ball and gleefully crashed over the line.

Peter Dods converted, added a penalty for good measure and Scotland could celebrate a first Grand Slam in 59 years.

Scotland travel to France this year looking to end a 20-year drought in Paris. Rewind the clock to 1995 and it had been 26 years since they won there.

The streak certainly looked to be in danger at half-time when Scotland led 13-5 thanks to a try from Gregor Townsend – the current Scotland coach.

France responded in the second half, with Philippe Saint-André completing a double and led 21-16 with time ticking away on the clock.

Scotland still had time on their side, and in Townsend, a magician in midfield. He had already produced one brilliant flick that came to nothing, but on one break down the left, his delightful inside pass while being tackled by two men was immortalised as the ‘Toonie Flip’. It set Gavin Hastings away for the winning try. The full-back added the conversion and Scotland claimed a memorable 23-21 victory.

Two years on and there was to be no repeat for Scotland as France welcomed them needing victory to complete the Grand Slam.

A brilliant French side, still the last to claim back-to-back Grand Slams, was never going to be denied, with Christophe Lamaison notching 24 points from the tee.

A fortnight after masterminding a comeback win at Twickenham, he pulled the strings and France romped to a 47-20 victory.

The pick of the tries came from Olivier Magne, the final score of the game, as France attacked from their own 22 and eventually Laurent Leflamand and Jean-Luc Sadourny shifted the ball to Magne with a deft sleight of hand to put the galloping flanker over.

Scott Gibbs took his own place in Championship history in 1999, but that score is just as sweet for Scotland fans as it handed them the final-ever Five Nations title.

To do that, the Scots had needed to win in Paris the previous day, and they did just that in a remarkable game.

Scotland ran in five first-half tries and recorded their biggest-ever win in Paris, 36-22, in what remains their last win in the French capital.

That day Emile Ntamack, whose son Romain starts on Saturday, opened the scoring after a sensational first-minute break from Thomas Castaignède.

From then on it was all Scotland as Martin Leslie, Alan Tait and then Townsend crossed. Tait and Leslie added another piece before half-time. Scotland were never threatened in the second half, and when Gibbs stole the show in Wembley the following day, they were able to celebrate in style.

Gibbs and Super Saturday in 2015 are probably the two most memorable Championship finishes, but running them very close is the final day of the 2007 edition.

France and Ireland were battling for the title in separate countries, with the Irish first up in Rome looking to bolster their points difference.

A 51-24 success certainly helped, although a Roland de Marigny try in the final second would prove to be a huge moment.

The French played Scotland last, knowing that a 24-point win would be required to overhaul the Irish. That did not look on when Nikki Walker crossed just seven minutes in, but Les Bleus then upped the ante.

Five tries put them ahead of the game, only for Euan Murray to cross four minutes from time, seemingly handing Ireland the title.

Instead France went up the other end and with time up on the clock, Elvis Vermeulen forced his way over. The decision went to the TMO, in a cruel twist of fate Irishman Simon McDowell, and it was he who confirmed the try that denied his compatriots the title.

While England still had an outside chance in the final match of the weekend, the 57-point margin of victory they needed in Wales was never in reach and France were able to celebrate.

This fixture has produced some sensational passing, and while not as dramatic as the Toonie Flip, François Trinh-Duc wowed with a magical move of his own in 2011.

In a game won 34-21 by Les Bleus, it is Trinh-Duc’s between the legs pass that will live long in the memory.

He received the ball in midfield, facing the wrong way and showing quick thinking flicked the ball between his legs to Imanol Harinordoquy outside him.

The great Basque No.8 needed no second invitation, cutting inside Richie Gray and racing 50 metres to the line.