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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 15:48 GMT
France cruise past Scotland

Vincent Clerc break away from the Scottish defence
Vincent Clerc was a constant threat to the Scottish defence
France 38-3 Scotland

France bounced back from their defeat by England in the opening round of the Six Nations with an emphatic victory against Scotland.

The French were always in control and although they only produced their best in bursts it was enough for them to run in tries through Fabien Pelous, Clement Poitrenaud, Damien Traille and Aurelien Rougerie.

Fly-half Francois Gelez, who missed two penalties that would have given France victory against New Zealand in November, was in much better form as he kicked the rest of France's points.

Scotland tried to keep going for the 80 minutes but they were out-gunned from one to 15 and all they had to show for their efforts was a solitary Chris Paterson penalty, leaving them rock bottom of the Six Nations table.

France 38
Tries: Pelous, Poitrenaud, Traille, Rougerie
Cons: Gelez 3
Pens: Gelez 4
Scotland 3
Pen: Paterson

Gelez and Paterson swapped penalties in the early stages before France put together the first threatening attack of the match.

A flowing move gave 20-year-old full-back Poitrenaud room to move down the Scottish left and his pass saw Vincent Clerc flying for the corner.

It took a great cover tackle from Kenny Logan to prevent the try, but the Scots were then harshly penalised to give the French great field position.

They kicked for the corner and then drove from the lineout, with Pelous burrowing over for the try.

When we are in that kind of spirit at the Stade de France we fear nothing and nobody
France fly-half Francois Gelez

Gelez missed the conversion but he then added two penalties to take the French into a 14-3 lead after half an hour.

Scotland were struggling to put their opponents under pressure, and apart from two excellent breaks by Logan and replacement scrum-half Mike Blair, they rarely cut through the French defence.

Despite over-elaborating at times the French were well in control and Gelez slotted his fourth penalty right on half-time to give them a 17-3 lead.

Within two minutes France were out of sight.

Clement Poitrenaud tries to go round Chris Paterson
Clement Poitrenaud scored France's second try

Once again the speedster Clerc sliced down the Scottish left and when he was tackled Poitrenaud was on hand to cross out wide.

Gelez' conversion made it 24-3 but Scotland came to life and two Paterson kicks ahead had the French scrambling to prevent the visitors from scoring.

The Scots mounted a period of sustained pressure but they could not score and France suddenly erupted on to the attack.

Betsen's take and drive from a lineout set them on their way and they finished off in exquisite style, with Traille taking Gelez's chip on the full before diving over under the posts.

Gelez' conversion took the French over the 30-point mark.

The execution, ball retention and the simple basics we did not do well
Scotland captain Bryan Redpath

Scotland nearly scored their first try in the 2003 Six Nations after Gregor Townsend kicked through, but Kevin Utterson knocked on with the line at his mercy.

It was the hosts who had the last word, with giant wing Rougerie soaring high to claim a Dimitri Yachvili cross-kick in injury time.

Gelez added the conversion as France confirmed that they are in a different league to the struggling Scots.

France: Poitrenaud, Rougerie, Garbajosa, Traille, Clerc, Gelez, Galthie, Crenca, Ibanez, Marconnet, Pelous, Brouzet, Betsen, Magne, Harinordoqui. Replacements: Rue, Califano, Auradou, Chabal, Yachvili, Merceron, Castaignede.

Scotland: G. Metcalfe, Paterson, Townsend, Utterson, Logan, Laney, Redpath, T. Smith, Bulloch, Douglas, Murray, Grimes, Leslie, Mower, Taylor. Replacements: Scott, G. Kerr, White, Petrie, Blair, G. Ross, Craig.

Referee: Peter Marshall (Australia)

Links to more Internationals stories


Scotland captain Bryan Redpath
"We didn't do the basics well"

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