The third and final game of this weekend’s 6 Nations matches was between Scotland and France. Jerry Guscott noted earlier in the week that statistically France tends to win the 6 (or 5) Nations in years following a Lions tour. Despite their bruising trip to New Zealand over the winter, which probably left them with as many bruises and the Lions got in South Africa, many people are tipping Les Bleus for the championship this year. On the basis of today’s game, those people are right.
Firstly the French pack totally destroyed the Scottish scrum. Had the Scots not had the excuse of a pitch that was cutting up badly and making keeping your footing difficult Nigel Owens might have awarded a few penalty tries. And of course they out-ran the Scots too. Scotland were defending horribly narrowly and were always vulnerable to quick, wide ball. The stars of the French back line were the cunning little Francois Trinh-Duc, and the amiable, chubby giant, Mathieu Bastareaud, who clearly fell into a cauldron of magic potion when he was a baby and doesn’t know his own strength.
The Scots will be pleased with the performances of Sean Lamont and Beattie, and with the fact that Chris Patterson is still the best kicker in the world. They will be less pleased at yet another match in which they never looked like scoring a try.
As Bill McLaren would have said, they’ll be dancing in the streets of Paris tonight. Here’s hoping that the fleur-de-lis flies proudly over the Louisiana Territory as well. Geaux Saints!