Byron McGuigan says Scotland players ‘let the country down’ in France

As the Scotland squad flew back from France following this dispiriting trouncing, there were no doubt a few nervous players fearing that their World Cup hopes had been badly?damaged just one game into the ?four-match warm-up series.

Scotland's Byron McGuigan faces up to French wing Alivereti Raka during the World Cup warm-up defeat in Nice. Picture: Pascal Guyot/AFP

A number involved in Nice were in a bracket of the current 40-man pool who really needed to hit the ground running to force their way into coach Gregor Townsend’s final cut of 31. “A lot of the boys are disappointed,” said Sale wing Byron McGuigan.

“We know this was an opportunity
to represent the country and the whole group of 40. Myself and many other players let ourselves down. It was not the Scotland we want to be, what we’re striving for.

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“Whoever Gregor selects next week [for the home rematch with the French], we are going to support them. That’s all we can do.”

From the moment wing Alivereti Raka crossed within two minutes, the Scots were on the back foot and never got a foothold in the game.

The French were magnificent, 
looking more like the Gallic flair machine than the often more physical and one-dimensional Les Bleus of recent years.

Full-back Maxime Medard and 
No 8 Gregory Alldritt added further scores to put the hosts 20-3 in front by half-time, an Adam Hastings penalty getting the Scots on the board.

They added no more points, though, as another from Medard, one from lightning quick scrum-half Antoine Dupont and the boot of Camile Lopez completed the rout.

“It was very disappointing,” added McGuigan. “It was not a true reflection of our pre-season so far. We let the country down and the coaches down.

“On the flipside, next week we have a chance to put it right so we will look to do that.”

On top of the obvious defensive 
failings, Townsend will be worried with how the Scots were so badly outmuscled, leaking a number of scrum penalties.

Full-back Stuart Hogg showed some encouraging flourishes but was often left trying to do it all from deep.

Hastings spent time in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on on an evening when nothing went right for the 
chastened Scots.