Hadden rues basic errors
PA Sport
February 3, 2008

Scotland coach Frank Hadden believes the mistakes which cost his side dearly in last year's World Cup were behind their disappointing 27-6 defeat to France on the opening weekend of the 2008 RBS 6 Nations.

Man of the match Vincent Clerc touched down in either half while Julien Malzieu, one of four debutants in the starting XV with a further two on the bench, also crossed for his maiden international try.

Scotland had hoped to repeat their famous victory of 2006 but could only muster six points from the boot of Dan Parks - who otherwise endured a miserable game.

The hosts' more experienced side committed costly errors throughout whereas France, with only six players from the World Cup squad in the starting line-up, displayed admirable composure in carrying out their game plan.

Hadden said: ``Obviously the changing room is desperately disappointed by the performance. We made the sort of elementary errors that bedevilled us at the critical stage during the World Cup.

``That was extremely disappointing - but let's not take anything away from the quality performance of the French. They played with tremendous pace and I thought their defence was outstanding.

``We created a few chances but they shut the door very quickly. If we got past their front line they scrambled very well to keep us out.

``But there's also no doubt the bounce of the oddly-shaped ball played a part in the afternoon. Without taking anything away from the French, a bouncing ball played a part in all of their tries.

``When we hacked through in similar situations the ball certainly didn't bounce well for us.

``They kept us out of the game after half time when we wanted a flying start and the possession stats must be in their favour.

``Ultimately we didn't give the supporters who we desperately wanted to do well for the win nor did we give ourselves the flying start in this Six Nations that we needed.''

Hadden remains upbeat about the remainder of the Six Nations, though, and expects his side to play considerably better against England's conquerors Wales in Cardiff next week.

He said: ``There's a very short and tough turnaround before next week's game but we know our side is capable of playing better.

``We are respectful of the Welsh getting off to a good start on Saturday but we will be going there determined t produce the kind of shock they did yesterday.

``There's no doubt that everyone who loses their first game in the championship faces a daunting task but it doesn't mean to say we are not determined to have a big part to play in this championship.

``We know we have a mountain to climb next week but we certainly believe we are capable of playing better than we played today and we know the Wales side will.''

Hadden could not disguise his disappointment at the refereeing of Alain Rolland, who frequently penalised Scotland at the ruck and generally frustrated the home side with his decisions.

He said: ``The French did a magnificent job of slowing the ball up. Full credit to them for making it impossible to win fast ball.

``We lost the penalty count which is normally the case with Alain (Rolland) and we'll have a really good look at that when we watch the game.''

Scotland captain Jason White admitted the result had left the home players floored.

Scottish hopes of a successful Six Nations were high ahead of kick-off, but the outcome against the new-look France side was dispiriting.

``We're really, really disappointed,'' White told BBC1.

``I think we had a very good build-up to the game, the atmosphere was great here, and we just made too many errors.

``We need to be men, we need to accept it. We need to regroup very, very quickly and have ambition when we go down to Wales next week.

``We need to work out what we did wrong and we need to work hard in training.

``Ultimately it was our own mistakes which cost us, and cost us severely.''

Like Hadden, White felt Scotland were looking strong until the point where they needed to be clinical and incisive.

``I think some of our lead-up play was good, but we just didn't execute the whole phase and that was just really disappointing,'' he said.

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