Six Nations 2000
France heap further trouble on Scotland
Scrum.com
March 4, 2000
Report Match details
Date/Time: Mar 4, 2000, 14:00 local, 14:00 GMT
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Scotland 16 - 28 France
Attendance: 67500  Half-time: 6 - 10
Tries: Nicol
Cons: Paterson
Pens: Logan, Paterson 2
Tries: Castaignede, Magne 2
Cons: Merceron 2
Pens: Merceron 3
Emile Ntamack breaks clear of Scotland's Kenny Logan during France's 28-16 win at Murrayfield, March 4 2000
Emile Ntamack breaks clear of Kenny Logan
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Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: France | Scotland


After being risible in Rome and dismal in Dublin, Scotland displayed glimpses of their traditional passion, commitment and fire at Murrayfield against a French side ravaged by injuries before succumbing to two sucker punches which make them odds on for a wooden spoon.

Scotland, themselves showing seven changes from the side which lost in Dublin, must have feared the worst after French fullback Thomas Castaignede opened the scoring for the visitors after just 11 minutes when he rounded off a series of forward drives by latching onto Dominici's pass, the French switching left from a tap penalty in the Scottish 22. Fly-half Gerald Merceron made a simple conversion.

Where Scotland have buckled in past, however, this time they showed the sort of application and determination which gave them the Five Nations championship last season. The inclusion of abrasive, streetwise, No.8 Stuart Reid up front and the master tactician John Leslie in the backs transformed the side and for much of the first half it was the Scots who controlled the pace and tempo.

Kenny Logan had a chance to get them off the mark as early as the fifth minute when his penalty from the halfway line floated left of the posts. And on ten minutes Gregor Townsend's attempted drop goal went tamely wide. But once Castaignede had put France in front, Logan replied with a penalty after the French had killed the ball at the ruck.

Although a Merceron penalty stretched France's lead to 10-3 after 20 minutes, Scotland should have drawn level on the half-hour when a Pountney try was disallowed for a double movement. The Scots when into half time at 6-10 down after a Chris Paterson penalty.

France started the second half with just 13 men after Ntamack was sin-binned for not releasing and second-row Daude followed for a late tackle on Townsend. That gave Scotland a huge fillip and within a minute of the restart Andy Nicol scored his first international try to put Scotland 13-10 ahead after John Leslie's quick tap penalty.

Although Scotland were far better than in either Rome or Dublin, some of the frailties they displayed were again in evidence. And two third-quarter tries by Olivier Magne - both handed to him on a plate after some outstanding work by Ntamack were enough to consign Scotland to their third successive Six Nations loss. With Wales in Cardiff, England at Murrayfield and New Zealand on their home patch, the rest of the year is taking on a painful hue for new coach Ian McGeechan and captain John Leslie.

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