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Red mist in Paris as France win Six Nations thriller against Scotland

SIX NATIONS REPORT: France fullback Thomas Ramos scored 17 points to end Scotland’s hopes of a Six Nations Grand Slam with a 32-21 win on Sunday.

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Scotland lost for the first time in the Championship this season after victories over England and Wales, ending their hopes of a first Grand Slam since 1990.

Both sides played more than an hour with 14 men after Grant Gilchrist was shown a red card for the visitors and Mohamed Haouas for the hosts.

Tighthead prop Haouas started instead of the banned Uini Atonio as Fabien Galthie’s home side played their first home game of the year six months out from hosting the Rugby World Cup after losing to Ireland two weeks ago.

Flank Hamish Watson returned for Gregor Townsend’s side after suffering a concussion in November.

Townsend’s visitors, seeking just a second win in Paris in 24 years, decided to play with the strong wind in the first half but failed to make the most of the advantage early on.

After just five minutes, France flyhalf Romain Ntamack crossed and with Ramos’ conversion, they led 7-0 to the joy of the majority of the crowd in the sold-out Stade de France.

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Scotland’s hopes of victory took a further blow two minutes later in the Parisian sunshine as lock and vice-captain Grant Gilchrist was shown a red card for a high tackle on Anthony Jelonch.

Les Bleus scored a second try with wing Ethan Dumortier strolling over in the corner 120 seconds later to make it 12-0 after Ramos’ missed extras.

Watson’s Test return lasted just 11 minutes as he was substituted for specialist lock Jonny Gray with Gilchrist off and his impact was immediate as he caught a line=out on the France five-metre line.

From the rolling maul the teams were level on 14 men each on the field as Haouas was shown a red card for a headbutt at a breakdown on away scrumhalf Ben White, three years after being sent off against the same opponents for a punch.

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Scotland failed to make the most of good territorial gains and trailed by 0-19 as Ramos intercepted Finn Russell’s pass to run in from 50 metres unopposed with just a quarter of the game gone.

The away side were on the scoresheet five minutes later as Russell fed centre Huw Jones and the flyhalf’s additional points made it 19-7.

Things calmed down after a frantic opening half an hour before Toulouse’s Ramos extended his side’s advantage to 22-7 at the break.

Scotland came out after the interval on top and Jones crashed over for his second try of the game after 48 minutes.

Russell’s conversion against the wind made it 22-14 with a little over half an hour to play as the Racing 92 playmaker continued to look relaxed on the field in his adopted home city.

Ramos added his second penalty of the game as Galthie’s outfit led 25-14 with 25 minutes left.

The visitors hit back with 12 minutes to play as Russell attacked the France defence and found a gap to dive over and he succeeded with conversion to make it a four-point game.

Scotland’s hopes of a comeback were ended with 20 seconds left as Gael Fickou claimed a bonus point for France and Ramos added the extras.

Man of the match: Gael Fickou was a colossus in the midfield for France on defence and attack. He also scored the final try which sealed the win and the bonus point for France. Fullback Thomas Ramos was a key figure in the win as he contributed 17 points to his team’s tally. Scotland centre Huw Jones terrorised France’s defence and he scored two great tries as well. However, despite being on the losing team, the award has to go to Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell who pulled the strings on attack and nearly masterminded a famous victory for his team. He also scored a try as well.

Moment of the match: There were two. First, it was Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist getting a red card in the seventh minute. And then France’s Mohamed Haouas was sent off five minutes later which meant that both teams played with 14 men for most of the match.

The scorers:

For France:
Tries: Ntamack, Dumortier, Ramos, Fickou
Cons: Ramos 3
Pen: Ramos 2

For Scotland:
Tries: Jones 2, Russell
Cons: Russell 3

Red cards: Grant Gilchrist (Scotland, 7′ – foul play, high tackle/shoulder to the head); Mohamed Haouas (France, 12′ – foul play, direct head-on-head contact)

Teams:

France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Yoram Moefana, 11 Ethan Dumortier, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Thibaud Flament, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Gaetan Barlot, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Francois Cros, 21 Sekou Macalou, 22 Baptiste Couilloud, 23 Matthieu Jalibert.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 WP Nel, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Ali Price, 23 Blair Kinghorn.

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

AFP & @rugby365com

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