Scotland's second-half blitz floors France
MATCH REPORT: Chris Harris’s converted second-half try gave Scotland their first win in six Tests as they beat France 17-14 in a Rugby World Cup warm-up Test at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Harris’s effort and one from Sean Maitland at the end of the first-half – also converted by Greig Laidlaw – saw the hosts come from behind and bounce back from the humiliating 32-3 thrashing by Les Bleus last weekend.
Pleasing for head coach Gregor Townsend – who made 14 changes to the starting XV from the first match – was they held the French scoreless in the second-half but worryingly he lost three players to injuries in Tommy Seymour, Blade Thomson on his debut and Sam Skinner.
Things looked ominous for the Scots early on as Damian Penaud intercepted and ran half the length of the pitch to touch down in the second minute – Thomas Ramos converted.
Laidlaw reduced the deficit shortly afterwards with a penalty.
The Scots showed much more enterprise than the previous clash, Sean Maitland making a great solo break deep into French territory but his good work was spoiled as the hosts conceded a penalty allowing the visitors to relieve the pressure.
An error by Finn Russell cost the Scots dearly a few minutes later.
The flyhalf failed to gather a high ball giving the French possession and when it came to Gael Fickou he saw an opening and burst through midfield leaving Maitland and Ryan Wilson trailing in his wake, then passed to Penaud who ran it in.
Ramos converted for 14-3.
Russell tried to redeem himself with a beautiful chip over the French backline but Maitland could only flick it back inside on the touchline and Stuart Hogg was unable to gather the ball.
Maitland had more joy though right at the end of the first-half as he went over for his 12th Test try after Russell found him out wide.
Laidlaw knocked over an excellent conversion to send the hosts in at half-time trailing by just four points 14-10.
The Scots went ahead for the first time in the match on the hour mark as Laidlaw fed Harris and he crashed over – Laidlaw adding the extras to lead 17-14.
The French offered little after with the Scots closing them down and extinguishing any hopes they had of just their fourth away win since the last World Cup.
Tries: Maitland, Harris
Cons: Laidlaw 2
Tries: Penaud 2
Cons: Ramos 2
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Willem Nel, 2 George Turner, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 John Barclay, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Blair Kinghorn.
France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Sofiane Guitoune, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Grégory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Félix Lambey, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Yacouba Camara, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Maxime Médard.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)