Scotland’s game plan made France work hard for their 26-3 win in front of a record Scots Six Nations crowd of 2,792.
Rain was a major factor at the start of this game with a continual downpour causing handling errors from both sides with a ball behaving like a piece of soap. As a result, although France had most of the possession, attempts to pass quickly – plus Scotland coming up quickly in defence- invariably resulted in errors or the ball being lost.
After 18 minutes the power of the French scrum won them a penalty, but Jessy Trémoulière hit the post.
French frustrations grew and, after 15 minutes of continual pressure, Scotland eventually turned over and quickly took the ball deep into the French half. When France infringed on their own 22, Sarah Law was on hand to convert the penalty. 3-0 to Scotland after 30 minutes.
France at this stage looked rattled, giving away penalties that soon saw prop Patricia Carricaburu shown a yellow card after 32 minutes.
But, despite being a player down, as the rain eased France turned the game around with two tries before halftime. First Scotland were slow to respond to a French maul, which powered over almost unchallenged, Agathe Sochat touching down. Then almost from the restart Pauline Bourdon’s perfect crossfield kick found Banet who raced in to score. France lead 12-3 at halftime.
France continued to dominate possession at the start of the second half, but Scotland also continued to come up fast and hit hard. With the heavy rain also returning, France were repeatedly frustrated. A break by Romane Menager set up a scrum on the Scots 5m line – but the ball slipped out the side, winning Scotland a chance to clear. The French error count began to rise again, along with Scottish hopes.
With 10 minutes to go only a marginal forward pass prevented Lisa Thomson racing away for a possible Scots try – but that would be the last Scots scoring opportunity. Only a minute later France finally broke through the French line, Boujard spotting a gap to ghost through the Scots line. 19-3 to France.
Then in the final minute the former junior soccer player that lies within Trémoulière came to the fore as she turned defence into attack. From the resulting lineout, a French maul took them to the Scots line, where Jade Le Pesq found room to ground the ball at the base of the post. Trémoulière converted, and France had a bonus point win that had seemed unlikely for much of the game.
Scotland: 15. Chloe Rollie 14. Liz Musgrove 13. Lisa Thomson 12. Helen Nelson 11. Rhona Lloyd 10. Lisa Martin 9. Sarah Law 1. Siobhan McMillan 2. Lana Skeldon 3. Megan Kennedy 4. Emma Wassell 5. Deborah McCormack 6. Rachel Malcolm 7. Hannah Smith 8. Jade Konkel
Replacements: 16. Jodie Rettie 17. Nicola Howat 18. Lindsey Smith 19. Mags Lowish 20. Louise McMillan 21. Siobhan Cattigan 22. Jenny Maxwell 23. Lauren Harris
France: 15. Jessy Trémoulière 14. Caroline Boujard 13. Jade Le Pesq 12. Camille Boudaud11. Cyrielle Banet 10. Pauline Bourdon 9. Yanna Rivoalen 8. Romane Ménager 7. Gaelle Hermet (cap) 6. Marjorie Mayans 5. Audrey Forlani 4. Safi N'Diaye 3. Patricia Carricaburu 2. Agathe Sochat 1. Lise Arricastre
Replacements 16. Milena Soloch 17. Maylis Traore 18. Julie Duval 19. Celine Ferer 20. Fiona Lecat 21. Emma Coudert 22. Gabrielle Vernier 23. Marine Ménager