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Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK

French despair as Scots run riot

Scotland's Gregor Townsend tackles Christian Califano of France

France 22-36 Scotland

In one of the most memorable games in Five Nations rugby history, Scotland scored five first-half tries to put one hand on the Championship trophy and secure their highest ever points win over France.

Jim Telfer: "Everything we did came off"
Two tries apiece from Alan Tait and Martin Leslie shattered French hopes of achieving anything from the season, with England now needing to defeat Wales on Sunday to secure the Championship.

[ image: Alan Tait touches over for his first try]
Alan Tait touches over for his first try
In a blistering first-half of 55 points and eight tries, Scotland immediately took the game to France, but only after Thomas Castaignede had made a breathtaking break in the first minute of the match.

From the kick-off, Castaignede ran the ball straight back at the Scots, only to be brought down yards short of the line.

The French quickly fed the ball back, before moving it through their hands with full-back Emile Ntamack touching over on the right.

It was the perfect start from France, but also proved a blow after Castaignede left the field suffering a twisted knee.

With one minute gone and five points on the board, France looked every bit their old selves. But Scotland retaliated in a way that will have surprised even the most hardened supporter.

Scots rampant

An inside break from Kenny Logan split the French defence wide open and in a superb expansive move, Scotland moved the ball across the field, to allow Martin Leslie to touch over on the right.

With Kenny Logan converting - Scotland led 7-5 after only four minutes, but even more blistering rugby was to follow.

From the kick-off, Scotland scored immediately after a crashing break from Glenn Metcalfe, which left the French defence in tatters.

And when Metcalfe fed to British Lion Alan Tait, the ex-Wigan star made no mistake to add another five points for the Scots.

Disbelief and despair

The visiting Scottish fans could hardly believe it - especially when Gregor Townsend dived over for Scotland's third try.

[ image: The French forwards drive over from five metres]
The French forwards drive over from five metres
It was a remarkable opening, with the visitors causing all sorts of problems for the French - running from their own 22 and punching holes in the French defence.

Juillet then replied for France to score his first try for his country after a powerful French scrum five metres out. Castagnede's replacement Aucagne, converted, but the home side were still trailing 12-21.

Minutes later Scotland again added to their tally, with Tait touching down for his second try - after another superb break from Metcalfe.

Logan then missed an easy conversion, but yet another Scottish try made up for the mistake after another break from Townsend.

A 50-yard run from the fly-half almost ended in a try, but he was dragged down just short, before popping the ball up to Leslie for the New Zealander's second try.

Dominici touches over

At break-neck speed, the game was breathtaking. But France were far from finished.

In retaliation, Christophe Dominici came off his wing at pace, leaving the Scottish defence in his wake to complete the opening half's eighth try and push Fance back into the game at 19-33.

The second-half was a much quieter affair - unsurprisingly perhaps given the game's blistering opening.

Scotland - clearly looking to preserve their lead began to settle back into a more defensive style of play, with France struggling to break through a barrage of blue shirts.

Logan slotted another three points for Scotland after France were penalised for lying on the ball.

And although Aucagne retaliated for France, the French looked increasingly desperate, knocking-on and making a host of unforced errors to allow Scotland to easily defend their lead.

France v Scotland

France: Ntamack, Garbajosa, Giordani, Comba, Dominici, Castaignede, Carbonneau, Califano, Ibanez, Tournaire, Cleda, Brouzet, Castel, Juillet, Labit.

Replacements: Laussucq, Aucagne, Lombard, Benetton, Auradou, Marconnet, Dal Maso.

Scotland: Metcalfe, Murray, Tait, J Leslie, Logan, Townsend, Armstrong, Hilton, Bulloch, Burnell, Murray, Grimes, Poutney, S Reid, M Leslie.

Replacements: Longstaff, Chalmers, Fairley, Walton, A Reid, Graham, Brotherstone.

Referee : C Thomas (Wales)

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