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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
Super Scots stun France
London Broncos and Scotland's Scott Cram
Scott Cram (right) was inspirational for Scotland
France 20-42 Scotland

Unfancied Scotland shocked World Cup quarter-finalists France with a stunning performance in the rugby league heartland of Lezignan.

The Scots, who lost all their three games in the World Cup, produced a passionate performance to end their four-match losing run in style with the biggest win in their five-year history.

Scotland the brave were inspired by Adrian Vowles, Castleford's Australian-born 1999 Man of Steel, who created three of their tries with towering kicks to the corner before retiring with a groin injury.

It wasn't just another game.... it had to mean something special and they all went out and gave their all
  Scotland coach
Billy McGinty

And winger Matt Crowther scored a try and kicked seven goals from eighth attempts to break his own record for goals and points in a match set against Wales in 1999.

For France, playing their eighth match in six weeks, it appeared to be a game too far.

Although fielding a virtually identical line-up, the French were unrecognisable from the superbly-drilled side that ran the Irish off their feet seven days earlier in Albi.

A formidable display by the pack, with towering forwards Wayne McDonald and Scott Cram head and shoulders above their counterparts, laid the platform for the Scottish backs to show their skills.

Full-back Jason Flowers and winger Danny Arnold each claimed two tries and there were others for David Maiden, Neil Lowe and Crowther as Scotland never let slip a stranglehold established in a wonderful start in which they scored three tries in the first 13 minutes.

Vowles helped create the first two tries for centre Maiden and winger Arnold with towering kicks to the corner that the French completely failed to deal with.

And the lively Scots were scoring at more than a point a minute when Flowers supported a half-break by the impressive Richard Fletcher to touch down, with Crowther kicking his second conversion.

I thought it would have been a lot closer than it was, considering the preparation we've had and the amount of hurdles that fell in front of us
  Billy McGinty

France, urged on by a vociferous crowd of around 3,000 at the compact Stade du Moulin, hit back with a 20th-minute try from substitute Romain Sort and Arnaud Dulac added the goal to cut the visitors' lead to 10 points.

However, Scotland defied the stifling conditions to pose more problems for the confident French and they claimed their fourth try just before the break when another Vowles kick bounced awkwardly for full-back Renaud Guigue and Arnold pounced for his second try, to which Crowther added his third goal.

Scotland coach Billy McGinty could hardly have hoped for a better start after he had his patched-up squad for just three training sessions but, with Lowe, Mike Dixon and Iain Higgins making an impressive step up from the Northern Ford Premiership, they were good value for their interval lead.

France, who hammered Ireland 56-16 in Albi just a week earlier, made a series of uncharacteristic handling errors in the perfect conditions, but they kept their hopes alive when second rower Pascal Jampy touched down early in the second half.

But the skilful Vowles crafted a crucial try for Lowe and, although new London Broncos recruit Sylvain Houles pulled a try back on 58 minutes, Scotland made sure of the win when Flowers took Ryan McDonald's neat pass to claim his second try.

France scored again when winger Michael Van Snick went in for his side's fourth try but Scotland finished in total command and came up with the best try in injury time as Lowe and Arnold combined in a sweeping move from their own half for Crowther to grab his side's seventh try.

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See also:

26 Jun 01 |  Rugby League
France hammer Ireland
01 Jul 01 |  Rugby League
McGinty calls for international shake-up
18 Jun 01 |  Rugby League
Scots gear up for France clash
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