Anne it’s all over: Princess Royal watches Scotland’s 32-21 defeat at the hands of France at Six Nations Championship rugby match
- Princess Anne, 72, watched in the wings in the Stade de France on Sunday
- France stormed to victory, leaving Scotland’s dream of a Grand Slam in tatters
Princess Anne was watching in the wings as France ended Scotland’s bid for its first ever Grand Slam in the Six Nations Championship rugby match.
The Princess Royal, 72, looked on as the French side stormed to victory with a 32-21 win over Scotland in the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, northern Paris on Sunday.
She stood amid other spectators and France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera to watch France end Scotland’s dream of their first-ever Grand Slam with an opening quarter siege, charging to a 19-0 lead after 19 minutes, by which point both sides had been reduced to 14-men.
Images show the Princess Royal looking stony faced as she watched the match play out.
The Royal Family have a long historic connection with Scotland, owning the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, where her mother, the late Queen, died in September 2022.
The nail-biting match saw Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist and France prop Mohamed Haouas handed red cards, leaving open space on the pitch for the likes of Finn Russell and Huw Jones to roam free.
Images show the Princess Royal looking stony faced as she watched the match play out
She stood amid other spectators and France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera to watch France end Scotland’s dream of their first-ever Grand Slam
But the deficit proved too large, as Scotland’s dreams of a clean sweep turned to dust. Gael Fickou secured the bonus-point for France with a try at the death, meaning both sides remain in the title race if Ireland slip up.
Scotland made the worst possible start to the match when they went behind after just three minutes. The French kicked to the corner and No 10 Romain Ntamack scored after some powerful carrying from the French forwards.
After six minutes, it looked like any chance Scotland had of victory were over when Grant Gilchrist was red carded. Matt Fagerson put in a legal tackle on Anthony Jelonch but Gilchrist followed up with a shoulder to Jelonch’s face.
France took full advantage of the extra man by going further ahead. Ntamack and Antoine Dupont linked up, before winger Ethan Dumortier scored in the corner.
Scotland were then handed a lifeline due to French indiscipline. Haouas, who had been sent off at Murrayfield three years ago for punching Jamie Ritchie, was given his marching orders after twelve minutes.
He launched himself head first into a challenge on Ben White and deserved his red card. Having parity in numbers inspired Scotland, but prop Zander Fagerson lost control of the ball as he stretched out to score.
France scored their third try within 18 minutes when a poor pass from Russell gifted a try to Tomas Ramos, who sprinted in from his own half to score. Before they knew it, Scotland were 19 points down.
Scotland (blue tops) were in the tie until the very end and can take inspiration from their efforts
France defence coach Shaun Edwards admitted his side’s focus now turns to next weekend’s Six Nations trip to Wembley
But Scotland fought back. Russell sent Jones through the middle of the French midfield to score and the centre touched down once again in the second half.
Russell was trying every trick in the book to get his side back into the match and his attacking attitude paid off with just twelve minutes to go.
Sione Tuipulotu used his power to create space and Ali Price shipped the ball away to Russell to crashed over the line.
Scotland were in the match until the death, when Fickou crashed over for a bonus point try that could be pivotal if Ireland somehow fall short in the closing rounds.