Skip to content

Scotland 25-21 France: Hosts come from 18 points down to win Rugby World Cup warm-up despite Zander Fagerson red card

Gregor Townsend's Scotland came from 21-3 behind at half-time, to beat France at Murrayfield in RWC warm-up after tries from Darcy Graham, Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry; Captain Finn Russell added two conversions, two penalties; Scots win despite 51st min red card to prop Zander Fagerson

Darcy Graham
Image: Darcy Graham was among the tries again as Scotland came from 21-3 behind to beat France 25-21

A Rugby World Cup warm-up Test of two halves saw 14-player Scotland roar back from 18 points down to beat a youthful France team 25-21 at Murrayfield.

French 20-year-olds Emilien Gailleton and Louis Bielle-Biarrey, at centre and wing respectively, lit up Murrayfield in the first half, combining to create a try for scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud, before Bielle-Biarrey scored one himself, and lock Cameron Woki added a third French try before the break.

It left them 21-3 ahead at the break, but Scotland came back with tries by wing Darcy Graham, loosehead Pierre Schoeman and hooker Dave Cherry to wrestle a lead themselves, despite losing prop Zander Fagerson to a red card.

Scotland 25-21 France - Score summary

Scotland - Tries: Graham (46), Schoeman (57), Cherry (67). Cons: Russell (47, 58). Pens: Russell (4, 76).

France - Tries: Couilloud (12), Bielle-Biarrey (25), Woki (40+4). Cons: Jalibert (13, 26, 40+4).

Tighthead Fagerson became the first player to be red carded via World Rugby's new in-play review system - which will be in operation at September's Rugby World Cup - where foul play that meets a yellow card threshold sees the player sin-binned, before the TMO has an eight-minute period to upgrade to a red card or keep the decision at yellow.

He will now face a suspension which will likely see him miss some of the World Cup, while further concern for Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend came in the form of scrum-half Ben White limping off in the first half with an ankle injury, five weeks before their World Cup opener vs South Africa in Marseille.

Finn Russell
Image: Finn Russell kicked the opening points of a first half dominated by France

Finn Russell kicked Scotland into an early 3-0 lead but an experimental France side hit back in style, as a counter-attack from their own half saw debutant backs Gailleton and Bielle-Biarrey combine at searing pace, with scrum-half Couilloud finishing a wonderful attack on the inside.

Batiste Couilloud
Image: Batiste Couilloud finished a stunning France move for the opening try

Only a desperate tackle from Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe denied centre Yoram Moefana a try in the corner, but by the 25th minute, France had a second as Bielle-Biarrey showed his pace to run on an angle and race in through a gap.

Also See:

Louis Bielle-Biarrey
Image: Louis Bielle-Biarrey impressed hugely in the first half on his Test debut

Past the half-hour mark, Scotland lost starting scrum-half White - their No 1 in the position - after he was forced to limp off with an ankle injury, and, by the half-time break, France had a third try.

Having turned down the chance to kick out and head in 14-3 ahead, close-range attacks eventually gave way to Woki diving over in the final play. When Matthieu Jalibert struck over his third conversion, France led 21-3 at the break.

Image: Cameron Woki got over to score France's third try before half-time

Rapid Scotland wing Graham - who scored twice vs Italy last week - gave the hosts an ideal start to the second half, though, as he outpaced Ethan Dumortier to reach a clever Russell kick into in-goal and get downward pressure on the ball to score.

Russell converted immaculately, and though Scotland forced a knock-on the next time France were attacking in the 22, Pierre Bourgarit jackalled at the breakdown to halt the Scots down the other end.

Image: Graham did brilliantly to get to the ball and score Scotland's first try, early in the second half

In the 51st minute, Fagerson was sin-binned for catching Bourgarit in the face in a ruck clearout - the first time the new yellow card/red card review system was in operation - with the Scotland tighthead's action later upgraded to a red card due to the high degree of danger and no mitigation.

Zander Fagerson
Image: Zander Fagerson was forced to remain off as his yellow card was upgraded to a red card

Despite the player deficit, Scotland loosehead Schoeman forced his way over the try-line for their second try, with questions over a double-movement quickly dismissed between referee Ben O'Keeffe and TMO Ben Whitehouse, even though there might well have been.

Pierre Schoeman
Image: Pierre Schoeman forced his way over for a try, which was given despite the suspicion of a double-movement

Confirmation of Fagerson's red card came after the try was scored, but Scotland had moved within four points and in the ascendency, and on the hour mark Blair Kinghorn forced his way past Brice Dulin to score after more lengthy spells of pressure, only for the try to be chalked off for a prior Graham knock-on spotted by the TMO.

Within four minutes, Scotland had their third try for the lead as replacement Cherry got over to score via a rolling maul in the corner, and though Russell missed the conversion, he then stretched Scotland's lead to four with seven minutes to go via a penalty from close-range.

 Dave Cherry
Image: Dave Cherry gave Scotland the lead with a try which came via a rolling maul

France finally forced a spell in attack before the end of the game, but successive five-metre lineout and scrum attacks came up short in the face of a superb Scotland defensive effort.

Around Sky