Scotland may not have come close to pulling off what would have been a major upset last night, but they did make considerable progress compared to the defeat by Wales eight days earlier. France were deserved winners, taking an unshakable hold on the game with two quick tries just before half-time when they had a player in the sinbin, and adding two more after the break. But they never threatened to run riot the way they had in the 2017 Six Nations when they defeated Shade Munro’s side 55-0 in La Rochelle.
“I’m really proud of them,” Munro said. “France are a very physical team, huge ability, No 3 in the world. We didn’t front up in the first half last week: we certainly did here.
“There are options that we should have taken but didn’t, but they put everything into the physicality side of the game. I was pleased with the performance.”
Sarah Law, pictured, gave Scotland the lead with a penalty, but after that the most impressive aspect of their game was the defence, well-drilled and defiant against opponents who looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable in possession. Even that defence, however, could not stop hooker Agathe Sochat from barging over after a well co-ordinated driving maul to put France ahead. Winger Cyrielle Banet got the second from a neat chip ahead by Pauline Bourdon. Jessy Tremouliere, whose first conversion attempt had fallen short, made no mistake this time to give her team a 12-3 half-time lead.
As the rain grew heavier in the second half, Scotland searched for a breakthrough, but their best chance of a try was brought back for a forward pass. Minutes later, winger Caroline Boujard came into the line and broke through a tiring defence to claim her team’s third try. Tremouliere added the two points, then increased her tally by another couple with the final kick of the game after Jade Le Pesq secured the bonus point with a sneak of a try from the base of a ruck.