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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 October, 2003, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Putting disappointment behind us

By Gordon Bulloch
Scotland international

The best thing we can do after a defeat like that is to put it to the back of our minds and concentrate fully on the task that faces us, beating Fiji.

It goes without saying that the guys are all devastated by the manner in which we lost such an important game.

However, we've got to get our heads up. If we let ourselves be affected by too much doom and gloom then we'll be beaten by Fiji on Saturday.

We've got to look at this game as our World Cup final. The winners will be playing Australia in Brisbane in the quarter-finals and that's a game anyone would want to play in.

Over the next few days we have to concentrate on getting a game plan together to beat Fiji, and we know that will not be an easy task.

Having said that, we started well against France, we competed well and it was a tight game for most of the first half.

Four years ago France could be rattled but now they hold onto the ball well and if something's not on, they start again
But we gave away stupid points before half time, we mis-timed tackles and conceded possession, which gave them a good angle and from there they scored the crucial first try.

If we had been able to take them in at 6-3 at half time, they would have known they were in a game. Going in at 19-6 against a team as good as the French is a huge ask.

We had a bit of pressure immediately after half time, but we lacked that necessary bit of composure to turn that into a clear-cut scoring opportunity and, to be honest, we never looked like scoring all game.

We came into the game on the back of only a four-day break and so unless we were really in with a shout in the closing stages, tiredness was always going to be a factor for us.

Some of our handling errors and slack play were maybe a result of a lack of confidence after a couple of unconvincing displays in our previous matches.

We were relying a lot on kicking and chasing, but a lot of credit has to go to France, though. Once they got the points on the board, they made us counter from deep, putting the ball where they wanted the line-out.

We made mistakes back there and they scored further points as a result.

They controlled the second half very well. The current French team is very consistent and composed. Four years ago they could be rattled and put off their game, but now they hold onto the ball well and if something's not on, they start again.

But now is the time to look ahead, not back, and get back to a positive frame of mind.





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