Scotland Women’s captain Susie Brown saw encouraging signs from her side in the second half of the match against France on Saturday, but they still head to Ireland in a fortnight looking for their first win in the RBS Six Nations.
At Stirling County’s Bridgehaugh ground they went down 23-0 to add to defeats by England and Wales earlier in the month. The Scots have now lost their last 10 championship matches since a draw with Italy back in 2010 and have not scored a point in 2012.
No 8 Brown, back after injury, said: “I felt we had a better second half performance. France are an incredibly skilful side and though I was a bit disappointed with our some of our execution, I definitely saw an improvement on our previous two performances.
“It was really great to be back on the pitch with the team. The facilities at Stirling are great and we had really good support from the crowd.”
Scotland started well, but the visitors scored first through No 8 Aida Ba.
That score seemed to settle them down and a few minutes later they were on the attack again, only a superb try-saving tackle by Scotland winger Katy Green stopping them from adding to their tally.
Before the interval the French did increase the lead to 13-0, stand-off Aurélie Bailon kicking a penalty and then a second unconverted try coming from second-row Cyrielle Bouisset.
Soon after the break, France scored their third try through hooker Gaëlle Mignot and they then scored their fourth try through Bouisset just as Scotland prop Tracy Balmer was returning to the fray from a spell in the sin-bin.
Scotland Women’s head coach Karen Findlay said: “We showed more composure and our platform ball, in a lot of respects, was better in this match. We just needed that one extra pass. Three performances in and the girls deserve some points.”
France centre Sandrine Agricole was named player of the match, but even she will acknowledge that it was her pack that set up this victory.