Gregor Townsend: Scotland played their ‘best rugby of the tournament’ in France defeat

Gregor Townsend: Scotland played their ‘best rugby of the tournament’ in France defeat

Gregor Townsend feels Scotland delivered their best performance of the Six Nations Championship in their narrow 32-21 defeat against France.

Having beaten England and Wales in the opening two rounds, Scotland travelled to Stade de France hoping to take another step towards a first Grand Slam since 1999.

Grant Gilchrist’s early red card put them on the back foot and though France’s Mohamed Haouas was also dismissed early on, Les Bleus raced into a 19-0 lead with just 18 minutes played.


Scotland fought back courageously and trailed by just four points as the clock entered the red but Gael Fickou’s overtime try robbed them of a bonus point, the least they deserved for their part in an epic encounter.

“I was very proud of the team because we probably produced our best rugby of the tournament and didn’t win,” said Townsend.

“It’s weird saying that when you’ve had two victories but a lot of our play was outstanding. There was effort, high skill and then there was resilience to go a man and points down and come back into the game.


“But really, we are disappointed. We were over the line on two occasions and didn’t score.”

Townsend’s side were hampered by the early dismissal of Gilchrist, who was shown a red card by referee Nika Amashukeli after just six minutes for a shoulder-to-head collision with Anthony Jelonch.

That forced them into a reshuffle, with the returning Hamish Watson sacrificed for Jonny Gray to mitigate a potential disadvantage at the set-piece.


If anything, the greater space across the park played into the hands of Finn Russell and Huw Jones, who dovetailed brilliantly.

Neither started Scotland’s first two Autumn Nations Series fixtures but both are now considered a key part of Townsend’s attack, and were responsible for all three of Scotland’s tries in Paris.


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