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Scotland v France - Story of the match

12 February 2018, 12:37 | Pamela Mathis

Scotland v France - Story of the match

Scotland v France - Story of the match

In the Borderer's absence since breaking a leg - apart from his British and Irish Lions appearances, his last Test was captaining Scotland in Paris a year ago - Cotter has departed as head coach and Gregor Townsend has arrived.

They were also six points ahead at 26-20 going into the final 20 minutes, but Laidlaw booted four penalties in a row to ruthlessly punish France's indiscipline.

Gregor Townsend's side regrouped quickly, however, and responded with a try of their own when Sean Maitland went over in the corner following patient build-up. The back rower picked up a loose pass sent wide, before stepping Scotland fly-half Finn Russell, holding off a challenge from full-back Stuart Hogg and crossing the line.

He struggled for quick ball but grew into the game and was faultless with the boot, kicking 22 points, to lead the fightback. The bounce of the ball eluded the covering Laidlaw and Thomas had his second try, Machenaud's conversion furnishing the visitors with a 17-7 cushion. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 13.

Early in the second half, it looked as though Scotland were on the ropes as France powered through their half, building up over 20 phases in a relentless attack.

Laidlaw, who was named man-of-the-match, admitted he was "slightly surprised" to be moved to fly-half, moments after levelling the scores at 26-26 with his fourth penalty of the second half. In the 64th minute Laidlaw had another penalty attempt and tied it up at 26-26 with a great long-range strike.

Scotland face undefeated England next at Murrayfield on 24 February.

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At least France were spared the injury-time despair they suffered from their last-gasp defeat courtesy of Jonny Sexton's long-range drop goal on the opening weekend.

This week Jacques Brunel lifted the lid on his selection decisions.

Teddy Thomas crossed for a wonderful individual try last week, but France also need brute force if they are to create more scoring opportunities.

Laidlaw is reunited with stand-off Finn Russell at half-back, with this Sunday's Test the scrum-half's first Scotland start since being injured in the corresponding fixture past year in Paris.

Centre Pete Horne, winger Sean Maitland and scrum-half Greig Laidlaw are all handed starting spots while Grant Gilchrist and Ryan Wilson are the players promoted from the bench to the pack.

Replacements: Scott Lawson, Jamie Bhatti, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis, David Denton, Ali Price, Chris Harris, Blair Kinghorn.

"As a group we're delighted to be playing at home in front of another sell-out crowd at BT Murrayfield and are looking forward to putting in a performance that can energise our supporters", he added.



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