Six Nations 2012: France edge out Scotland at Murrayfield
Scotland made France work hard as the visitors ran out as narrow winners in the Six Nations clash at Murrayfield
France continued their winning start to the Six Nations but were given an almighty scare by Scotland at Murrayfield.
Stuart Hogg again showed his promise as he scored early on his home debut as the Scots led 10-0 in the first half.
But France worked their way back into it thanks to a second try in as many tests from Wesley Fofana and the boot of Morgan Parra.
Lee Jones’ first try in Scottish colours had put the home side back in front but Maxime Medard hit back immediately to put Les Bleus back in front.
Lionel Beauxis added a drop goal and the French showed all their experience to close the game out and secure a third successive win in the Scottish capital.
It was harsh on Andy Robinson’s charges who battled gamely but were eventually suffocated by the French who were clinical and took advantage of an imperious scrum.
But the Scots made the brighter start and put the French under early pressure and when Les Bleus strayed offside Greig Laidlaw had the chance to open the scoring.
His kick fell short but the Scots continued to press and scored the first try after just eight minutes through Hogg.
After some patient build-up Jones found the 19-year-old who dived over in the right corner to score his first international try, Laidlaw adding a touchline conversion.
Scotland looked to be in again just before the quarter hour after a great break from Mike Blair but Thierry Dusautoir produced a thumping tackle on Geoff Cross forcing the Scots to go off their feet to avoid a turnover.
The home side continued to press and threaten but from a lost ball Medard streaked away but Hogg was able to cover the threat of Vincent Clerc and snuff out the danger.
Having kept the French out the Scots attacked again and were rewarded as the French were penalised at the breakdown allowing Laidlaw to stretch the lead to 10-0.
Les Bleus hit back in style after François Trinh-Duc had gone through the tackle of Laidlaw and when the ball was recycled Fofana ran a great angle off Clerc to cross for his second international try. Parra converted to make it 10-7 after half an hour.
From the ensuing restart Robinson was dealt a major blow as both Rory Lamont and Mike Blair were forced off with injuries, with Nick de Luca and Chris Cusiter replacing them.
And after the Scots conceded a penalty from a scrum on the left, Parra added a penalty to draw the sides level at 10-10 one minute before the break.
Allan Jacobsen then put in a high tackle on Pascal Pape giving Parra the opportunity to put France into the lead for the first time with the last kick of the half, but the diminutive Clermont scrum-half’s shot drifted just wide.
The French started the second half strongly and the pressure eventually told as Jacobsen was penalised for slowing down the ball.
This time Parra made no mistake to make the score 13-10 five minutes into the second half.
However the Scots soaked up the pressure before some quick thinking from John Barclay secured an important turnover and with the French defence in disarray Richie Vernon found Jones who scored his first Test try. Replacement Duncan Weir converted to make it 17-13.
The French hit back immediately as they turned the ball over and Julien Malzieu barged through the tackle of Jones before finding Medard who had a free run in to the line, Parra’s conversion making it 20-17 after an hour.
Medard was forced off with an ankle injury soon after but his replacement Beauxis slotted an easy drop goal to stretch the lead to six with 15 minutes remaining.