Player Ratings: Grand Slam dream crushed
OPINION: Scotland’s hopes of a first Six Nations Grand Slam were brought to an end in Paris as France edged a pulsating contest at the Stade de France.
Scotland made a disastrous start as they found themselves a man down with Grant Gilchrist’s early red card, and though that was cancelled out by the sending off of Mohamed Haouas, the Scots were 0-19 down inside the first quarter.
Two tries from Huw Jones put the visitors back in contention, and Finn Russell’s score set up a dramatic finale, but Gael Fickou’s try secured victory for the home side.
Scotland can still win the championship, and the Triple Crown, but must beat Ireland at Murrayfield to do either and to ensure the championship does not become another ‘what if’ story.
Gavin Harper from RugbyPass rates the Scotland players:
15. Stuart Hogg – 7
Looked to threaten in the wide channels. Also made a terrific strip of Fickou with France threatening a fourth score.
14. Kyle Steyn – 6.5
Denied a couple of attacking chances by dubious forward passes, but worked hard on and off the ball. His carry up the middle put Scotland on the front foot in the build-up for Jones’ try.
13. Huw Jones – 8
Found plenty of room in the outside channel and scored two superb tries. Hit an excellent line for his first and showed good power to score his second.
12. Sione Tuipulotu – 7
Some strong carries in close quarters, while he linked well with Russell to give others space. Terrific delay allowed Jones over for his second and then a strong carry set up Russell’s try.
11. Duhan van der Merwe – 6.5
Well shackled by the French defence, including a huge early hit by Jelonch that led to Ntamack’s try. Made an excellent defensive read as the hosts looked to break.
10. Finn Russell – 7.5
A mixed bag from Scotland’s talisman who took his try superbly and controlled the game with aplomb at times. At his best, he is sensational. However, he threw a costly interception and was guilty of overplaying trying to free van der Merwe very early.
9. Ben White – 7
Controlled Scotland’s attacks well and filled the spaces in the defensive line. Couple of nice half-breaks. Outstanding defence to deny Dumortier.
1. Pierre Schoeman – 7
As always, gets through so much work. Really matched France physically. A total of 12 carries for 60+ metres and eight tackles before he departed.
2. George Turner – 7
Carried hard and got Scotland on the front foot. Maybe a bit guilty of leaving Scotland’s mauls early and will have been disappointed with a costly fumble in the first half as Scotland attacked the French line. His ruck clean-outs are so effective.
3. Zander Fagerson – 6.5
Cut out the daft penalties and was effective at set-piece. Came close to scoring from a maul, but should’ve just held on.
4. Richie Gray – 6.5
Back at the Stade de France since winning the 2019 Top14 final with Toulouse for the first time. His experience helped in the aftermath of the red card and he worked tirelessly.
5. Grant Gilchrist – 1
Close to tears as he was sent off on seven minutes for a high shot on Jelonch.
6. Jamie Ritchie – 6
A huge shift from the skipper who also took on some of the lineout onus following Gilchrist’s sending off. Might have dummied to van der Merwe when the big wing was bundled into touch on 24 minutes.
7. Hamish Watson – 3
The 2021 Lion was brought back in to slow the French down, but lasted only 10 minutes – sacrificed following Gilchrist’s red card.
8. Matt Fagerson – 6
Threw himself about defensively and was Scotland’s top tackler when he departed on 58 minutes. Outstanding against Wales, he wasn’t able to make much ground with ball in hand.
16. Fraser Brown – 5
Part of a full front-row change on 63 minutes, made a good carry with his first touch. An errant late lineout proved costly.
17. Jamie Bhatti – 5
Excellent and immediate impact at the scrum.
18. WP Nel – 6
The veteran put Baille under huge pressure at his first scrum.
19. Jonny Gray – 8
Got some much-needed game time off the bench following the red card. Managed the lineout well alongside his brother and added his weight to some powerful carries.
20. Sam Skinner – 6
On late on for Richie Gray and put huge pressure on the French lineout with two minutes to go.
21 Jack Dempsey – 7
An excellent cameo. Powerful with ball in hand and a threat at the breakdown.
22. Ali Price – 6
Experience wins the 2021 Lion a spot on the bench ahead of George Horne. On just before the hour.
23. Blair Kinghorn – 5
On for Steyn in the final 10 minutes, but wasn’t able to hold on to a high ball that gave France valuable territory.