Scotland 15-22 France: Virimi Vatakawa scores only try of the game to boost Les Bleus’ Autumn Nations Cup hopes with Thomas Ramos also starring at Murrayfield
- France beat Scotland 22-15 on Sunday to boost their Autumn Nations Cup hopes
- Virimi Vatakawa scored the only try of the game early in the second period
- Duncan Weir and Thomas Ramos were embroiled in a kicking war at Murrayfield
- Defeat brings Scotland’s five-game unbeaten run to an end after a good 2020
Scotland’s unbeaten five match run came to an end in a scrappy Nations Cup match that ended in bizarre circumstances.
In the last play of the match Stuart Hogg had a simple kick to the corner to pin back the French on their own line as they chased a converted try for the draw.
He got greedy and rather than find touch he kicked it long and over the French line. The visitors couldn’t believe their luck when the ball went dead and referee Wayne Barnes blew the final whistle.
Virimi Vatakawa (left) scored the only try of the game as France beat Scotland 22-15 on Sunday
Defeat in the Autumn Nations Cup brings Scotland’s five-game unbeaten run to an end
In an error strewn game the French got the only try of the game through Virimi Vakatawa with full-back Thomas Ramos kicking his conversion and penalties well for a personal total of 14 points.
It was also good to see Matthieu Jalibert putting over a drop goal. Scotland hardly created a chance with all their points coming from the boot of Duncan Weir
Weir was in action straight away and made a clearance kick to touch in the first two minutes that would have settled his confidence.
France won the line-out and got a penalty from in front of the post when Chris Harris was penalised for not rolling away. Thomas Ramos opened the scoring with the kick with four minutes on the clock.
Duncan Weir (right) scored five penalties for the hosts but it wasn’t enough at Murrayfield
France thought they had extended their lead moments later but referee Wayne Barnes, after consultation with TMO Ben Whitehouse, ruled that Blair Kinghorn had got to the ball just ahead of Virimi Vakatawa who claimed to have touched down first. France didn’t come away empty-handed as Scotland were judged offside which gave Ramos the chance to put over his second penalty.
It took a full thirteen minutes for Scotland to get anywhere near the French line when they won a line-out 22 metres out. They took the play from one side of the park to the other then back into the centre. When France strayed offside they gave away a penalty that Duncan Weir put over at the end of Scotland’s first attack.
The French indiscipline cost them again when Gregory Aldritt was penalised for not rolling away. With the first quarter of the game gone Weir levelled things with the resulting penalty.
Three minutes later a great break from Antoine Dupont split the Scotland defence before the ball was played back to Matthieu Jalibert whose drop goal went over. Next up it was Weir to show his ability with the boot to level the score with a penalty on 27 minutes.
Thomas Ramos also kicked his conversion and penalties well for a personal total of 14 points
From the restart Matt Fagerson was penalised which allowed Ramos to put the visitors back ahead.
It took a full half hour before the first scrum of the match that Scotland won but in the next play Weir lost the ball to gift possession back to the French.
Errors were coming think and fast from both sides with the worse one coming from Blair Kinghorn who kicked the ball dead behind the French line rather than running the ball when he had men in support.
Three minutes before the break Weir put over a long range penalty to level the scores as Scotland started to come more into the game. France hooker Camille Chat was lucky not to be yellow carded when he led with his elbow into a tackle on Jonny Gray.
Scotland were sloppy in their decision-making with Blair Kinghorn (middle) one of those guilty
In the final play of the half France thought they had scored a try but the referee ruled their pack was held up over the line.
The visitors made the perfect start to the second half with a well worked try two minutes in. Dupont found Gael Fickou who fed Vincent Rattez who had come off his wing.
He had Vakatawa on his shoulder and despite a great effort from Stuart Hogg to stop him he still managed to touchdown, Ramos put over the extras. Weir cut the deficit with a penalty with 46 minutes on the clock to cut the deficit to four.
The Scotland defence was doing well to hold firm as Dupont and Jalibert were starting to spread the game. In days gone by when they got a penalty in the Scotland camp they would have kicked to the corner and gone for the try. Such was the closeness of the game they instead took the penalty that Ramos put over.
Vatakawa went over very early in the second-half for the only try of the game at Murrayfield
Heading into the last ten minutes the game still hung in the balance with both sides making a swathe of changes as both set of players started to tire.
Needing a fresh impetus in attack Saracens centre Duncan Taylor came on for Sam Johnson. He nearly had an immediate affect as he was involved in a move that saw a Hogg grubber kick nearly playing in winger Duhan van der Merwe.
With five minutes later Weir gave away a penalty just inside the French half. Ramos ad n chance of kicking it but to kill time he took a go that came up well short. It was good game management by the French.
Scotland fought back well but their chances of a draw came to an end when Hogg failed to find touch in the final play of the game. It gifted the game to the French who celebrated their win in style.