France bounced back from their nightmare loss at Twickenham with a bonus-point win over Scotland to get their Guinness Six Nations campaign up and running.
It was a much-improved display from Les Bleus, who ran out 27-10 winners, on a day when the TMO also denied them four tries.
Jacques Brunel made four changes to his starting XV, and all four played a part in the win in differing ways – according to official stats provider AWS.
Antoine Dupont was a standout performer off the bench at Twickenham topping many of the statistical categories in just 34 minutes of action.
Given a start in Paris, he played a very different game, more in the mould of Morgan Parra – the man who he replaced in the starting line-up.
It was notable to see that Dupont kicked more than any player on either side, with 11 kicks tallying 346 metres in all.
That is not to say he wasn’t dynamic, his support line was crucial to the first French score, and he still made 78 metres with ball in hand, a huge number for a scrum-half.
Add in one line break and three offloads, and it was a fine first Championship start for the 22-year-old.
The Toulouse trio of Thomas Ramos, Romain Ntamack and Dupont all came into the French backline, and were involved in the teenage Ntamack opening the scoring for the first try.
There was less fanfare about flanker Wenceslas Lauret’s return to the French pack, but the Racing 92 player made an impact.
Hugely active at the breakdown as ever, he topped the tackle counts with 22, and added a pair of turnovers for good measure.
Lauret also helped himself to a lineout steal and hit 34 rucks, trailing only Clermont duo Sébastien Vahaamahina (43) and Arthur Iturria (42).
It was not a perfect display from Lauret, with one handling error on a high ball leading to Gaël Fickou’s first-half try being disallowed, but he more than vindicated Brunel’s decision to recall him.
A year ago in Edinburgh, Teddy Thomas’ first-half double put France in control against Scotland before indiscipline allowed the home side to turn things around and claim the win.
There must have been concerns at the Stade de France as Les Bleus threatened to run away with it, only for a string of penalties to slow their momentum in the first period.
A passage of four penalties in nine minutes culminated in Yoann Huget being sin-binned, and they had conceded eight by half-time.
All that changed at the break, and France came back much more disciplined after the break, being pinged just twice, while Scotland were the ones failing to heed the referee’s warnings at breakdown and scrum.
That proved crucial in the context of the game.
Deprived of a host of key men, Scotland were always up against it in their hopes of recording a first win in Paris for two decades.
One man who came in was Blair Kinghorn, and the full-back was able to make his mark in a team that did not really fire.
Replacing Stuart Hogg, Kinghorn racked up a remarkable 187 metres, carrying the ball 15 times. Only Jamie Ritchie managed more.
Overall it was a disappointing afternoon for the Scots, but Gregor Townsend will have been pleased with the performance of his full-back.