France 32-21 Scotland: Scrappy Les Bleus secure Six Nations win after Grant Gilchrist, Mohamed Haouas see red
Romain Ntamack, Ethan Dumortier, Thomas Ramos, Gael Fickou score tries for scrappy France who eventually secure victory over Scotland at Stade de France; Huw Jones (two), Finn Russell scores tries in defeat; Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist, France prop Mohamed Haouas both red carded early
Last Updated: 27/02/23 6:34am
France hung on for a 32-21 Six Nations Round 3 victory over Scotland in Paris, after early red cards were given to visiting lock Grant Gilchrist and home prop Mohamed Haouas.
France raced out to a 19-0 lead as fly-half Romain Ntamack, wing Ethan Dumortier and full-back Thomas Ramos scored tries, with Gilchrist red carded for a high tackle on Anthony Jelonch before tighthead Haouas was sent off for a bizarre head-first charge at Ben White.
France 32-21 Scotland - Score summary
France - Tries: Ntamack (5), Dumortier (8), Ramos (19), Fickou (80). Cons: Ramos (6, 21, 90+2). Pens: Ramos (36, 58).
Scotland - Tries: Jones (26, 48), Russell (68). Cons: Russell (26, 49, 69).
Scotland hit back as centre Huw Jones scored two tries, before Finn Russell added another to bring them within four points with 12 minutes left to play.
France then made sure of victory with a Gael Fickou try in the very final play.
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Fabien Galthie's side were looking to bounce back from their defeat by Ireland a fortnight ago, their first in their last 15 tests, and while they managed to get back to their winning ways, they did not look like the same invincible force seen in 2022.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend made one, with Hamish Watson returning at flanker and replacing Edinburgh team-mate Luke Crosbie. Stuart Hogg was also passed fit to play after being forced off early in the 35-7 win over Wales with a head injury last time out. The Exeter Chiefs full-back retained his place ahead of Blair Kinghorn, who made a positive, try-scoring impact last time out.
For the hosts at the Stade de France, head coach Fabien Galthie made just one change to the 23-man squad which suffered a 32-19 loss to Ireland in Dublin. Montpellier tighthead Mohamed Haouas was brought in to start, with La Rochelle's Uini Atonio suspended for his high tackle on Ireland's Rob Herring - a tackle he only received yellow for, but was upgraded to red later by the citing commissioner. Haouas was red carded against Scotland in 2020 for punching current Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie at Murrayfield.
Les Bleus went through the phases early on and Ntamack touched down out wide after the forwards had worn down the Scottish defence.
Gilchrist then made a direct shoulder contact with Jelonch's face and was sent off after referee Nika Amashukeli saw a "high degree of danger" while watching the incident back in a TMO review.
Dumortier went over shortly afterwards on the left wing to put France 12-0 up, only for Haouas to be shown red in the 13th minute for a head-first charge into White in a ruck near the France try-line.
It spurred Scotland into action, but Les Bleus were clinical against the run of play as Ramos intercepted a long pass from Russell to run in for the hosts' third try from 50 metres.
Russell recovered from his error to inspire the visitors' response with a superb pass for centre Jones to run onto and touch down by the posts.
Scotland remained a constant danger with powerful driving mauls, but Ramos added a penalty to give France a 15-point half-time lead.
The visitors reduced the arrears early on in the second half as Jones powered through for his second try, as the sluggish hosts found themselves on the back foot.
Dumortier appeared on the cusp of a fifth try for France, only for the wing to be held up by White and Jones, before Russell then dived over after a series of five-metre scrums to put Scotland within touching distance.
It was, however, France who had the last laugh as they threw caution to the wind in search of a bonus-point try, which Fickou got after being set up by Antoine Dupont in a move that also denied Scotland a losing bonus-point.
What they said...
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend told ITV Sport post-match...
"I was very proud of the team because they probably produced their best rugby of the tournament and didn't win.
"It's weird saying that when you've had two victories but I thought some of our play today was outstanding.
"All of it was effort based, to be a man down and still play at the speed we played at.
"But there was high skill in there as well and then there was resilience. To come back into the game, we are disappointed we didn't have more points on the board in the first half. We will get so much out of this."
After next weekend's second fallow week in the Six Nations, France travel to face England at Twickenham in Round 4 on Saturday, March 11 (4.45pm kick-off GMT).
France's Six Nations 2023 fixtures
|Sunday, February 5||Italy 24-29 France|
|Saturday, February 11||Ireland 32-19 France|
|Sunday, February 26||France 32-21 Scotland|
|Saturday, March 11||England vs France||4.45pm|
|Saturday, March 18||France vs Wales||2.45pm|
Scotland are next in action on Sunday, March 12 (3pm kick-off GMT), as they host Ireland at Murrayfield for their Round 4 clash.
Scotland's Six Nations 2023 fixtures
|Saturday, February 4||England 23-29 Scotland|
|Saturday, February 11||Scotland 35-7 Wales|
|Sunday, February 26||France 32-21 Scotland|
|Sunday, March 12||Scotland vs Ireland||3pm|
|Saturday, March 18||Scotland vs Italy||12.30pm|