France stormed to a dominant 32-3 victory against an over-matched Scotland to launch their Rugby World Cup preparations in emphatic style.

Jacques Brunel's side beat Scotland 27-10 in this season's Six Nations and this was an even more sapping experience for their visitors in Nice.

The damage was done by first-half tries from Alivereti Raka, Maxime Medard and Gregory Alldritt, with Medard adding a second before Antoine Dupont went over with an hour played.

Gregor Townsend's men host the same opponents next weekend at Murrayfield, where they will need to make a better start than the botched line-out that allowed Raka to gleefully charge over on the end of Wesley Fofana's second-minute pass.

Medard touched down in the corner to make it 15-0, Camille Lopez having dispatched his initial attempts from the tee.

Adam Hastings kicked Scotland's solitary points but was in the sin-bin when the France pack obliterated their opponents in a rolling maul, with Alldritt the beneficiary.

Francois Cros was the latest home player to tear through Scotland's meagre defensive efforts in the 54th minute, allowing Medard a gleeful run to the line.

Dupont benefitted from Damian Penaud's mazy run, with Lopez adding the extras before France eased to the close, giving Townsend plenty to think about before the sides reconvene in Edinburgh.

Duncan Taylor will win his first cap for over two years and Stuart McInally will captain Scotland in their first Rugby World Cup warm-up match against France on Saturday.

Taylor has not played for his country since June 2017 due to injury problems, but the 29-year-old will make up a new centre pairing with Huw Jones at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.

Fellow midfielder Rory Hutchinson and lock Scott Cummings could make their debuts off the bench against Les Bleus.

Adam Hastings gets the nod at fly-half and Ali Price starts at scrum-half five weeks before Scotland face Ireland in their World Cup opener in Yokohama City.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: "A huge amount of work has gone in throughout the past two months in order to deliver our best level of performance in the Rugby World Cup.

"These four Tests are a vital part of that process in terms of testing our systems and combinations but also in seeing which players put their best foot forward when it comes to selection for the final 31-man group going to Japan next month."

 

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Huw Jones, Duncan Taylor, Byron McGuigan, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, Stuart McInally (captain), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: George Turner, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Blair Kinghorn.

Heads are going to roll following Jamaica’s disastrous campaign at the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup.

Ross Ford, Scotland's record appearance maker, has retired from rugby as he plans to go into coaching.

It was confirmed in April that the hooker, who won 110 caps for his country, would be leaving club side Edinburgh at the end of the 2018-19 season.

And on Thursday, Scottish Rugby revealed Ford's plans to move into strength and conditioning coaching, helping young players in the Scottish Borders.

"I always enjoyed the S&C side of things. It was always a big part of my game and it was something I was good at," Ford said.

"Later in my career I took a big interest in it and it became something I wanted to do after I finished playing, so I was really keen when this opportunity came up, especially being a Borders lad as well.

"I've been very fortunate. I've had a long career in the sport and have been able to represent my country at the highest level, playing in a lot of great places around the world.

"I've met some characters along the way and overall just feel very lucky to have played a sport that I love and make a living in the process.

"I never had any specific targets in mind, it [reaching 110 caps] just kind of crept up on me. I recognise it as a big achievement but it's just something that came hand-in-hand with playing the sport.

"Mossy [Chris Paterson] got over 100 and Sean [Lamont] is up over 100 as well. I never set out to get to get certain number or beat them. I just kept playing because I was enjoying it."

Ford, who made his international debut against Australia in 2004, brings down the curtain on a career that encompassed almost 300 professional games and saw him capped as a British and Irish Lion on the tour to South Africa in 2009.

Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson has dismissed claims he urged Scotland team-mate Kieran Tierney to quit Celtic for the sake of his career.

Bhoys left-back Tierney has reportedly already been the subject of one failed £15million bid from Arsenal after helping Celtic complete an historic triple treble last season.

Transfer consultant Ian McGarry claimed Tierney's chat with Scotland colleague Robertson has convinced the 22-year-old he should pursue a move south of the border. 

Speaking on the Transfer Window Podcast, he said: "The second thing that has changed for Kieran Tierney is speaking to his international team-mate Andy Robertson.

 

"Having won the Champions League at the end of last season, he's told Tierney 'look, don't default your career for the sake of staying at the club you support'."

But Scotland skipper Robertson took to social media on Monday to distance himself from McGarry's suggestion, quote tweeting an article about the subject with the post "lot of rubbish". 

Celtic are reluctant to lose Tierney and the player still has four years remaining on his existing deal with the Scottish giants.

Arsenal, though, are unlikely to be deterred as boss Unai Emery looks to rebuild his squad for next season after missing out on the Champions League.

With the FINA World Championships on the horizon, Jamaican diver Yona Knight-Wisdom believes he is ready to overcome the disappointment he experienced at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and finally show the world his true potential.

The championships are set for Gwangju, South Korea, from July 12-20 and the 24-year-old Wisdom, who will compete in the three-metre and one-metre springboard events, has set himself some basic targets, which, if he achieves secures participation at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“My goal for both events is to progress to the final; for three-metre, that would mean an Olympic spot, on the one-metre that would complete a goal of mine ever since my first World Champs in 2013,” said the diver who trains in Scotland. “I guess that’s the outcome goal. My actual focus going into competition is to minimize the mistakes I make, and land upright on all of my dives.”

Those mistakes that cost him a medal at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018. It is something he admits he has struggled to come to terms with.

“This year has been a challenge, trying to rediscover my confidence in competition and learn to trust and believe in my ability. Ever since I finished fourth on the one-metre at Commonwealths I’ve been struggling with that,” he said.

“So this year it’s been a process of improving that. I knew I could do all of my dives and do them well, I just did not believe in it when I got on the board in competition. Now I’m starting to believe it more and more.”

The test of that will come in South Korea where Knight plans to bring the mental and physical together in the hope that success will mean a spot on the podium.

“This World Championships is of high importance. Of course, I have a goal in my head for the Olympics, but to be able to achieve that goal, I have to qualify my spot first, and that is certainly not a given,” he said.

“I need to compete well at Worlds to make the final (top 12) and qualify my spot. So, although I didn’t have qualification criteria for Worlds, it important to be in a good place physically and mentally in the build-up, and I believe I am.”

 

 

Roberto Martinez paid tribute to Romelu Lukaku following his two-goal display in Belgium's 3-0 win over Scotland.

Belgium continued their 100 per cent start to Euro 2020 qualifying with Tuesday's victory, keeping themselves top of Group I, three points ahead of Russia.

Lukaku opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, sending a thumping header in from six yards, before doubling his tally after the interval tapping in a rebound after Kevin De Bruyne had an effort saved.

Those goals took Lukaku to 25 goals from his past 21 Belgium matches, though were it not for a couple of bad misses, he might have scored four on the day.

Martinez felt the supporters showed their appreciation for him regardless, but the head coach wants the much-maligned Manchester United forward to take advantage of his hard work even more often.

"I appreciated the love fans have shown towards this national team and Romelu in particular," he told reporters. "He is a boy who has been very successful these last three seasons. He creates opportunities and scores a lot.

"I see him very disciplined, and during this international break he has displayed a lot of desire. Sometimes, I'm sad when I see that Romelu does not take advantage of his play on the pitch."

De Bruyne was the standout performer in the match, though Martinez was keen to share the praise around.

"It's not a single player match, everyone contributed to this victory," he said. "Kevin did indeed have a big influence, he was both active and patient.

"But Eden Hazard was also very important, taking responsibility, while Lukaku made the net shake twice.

"When I see how Thorgan Hazard is progressing - he was not even in the 23 at the beginning of my term - how Thomas Meunier held 90 minutes after Timothy Castagne's match, I think we have plenty of options, and that's fine.

"Do not forget the hard work of the three central defenders, who prevented Scotland from scoring against us."

The match brought a first defeat as Scotland boss for Steve Clarke, but overall, he was left satisfied with what he saw from his side in his debut international get together.

"My impression is that I saw over the 10 days that I've got a really good group of players who are really committed to their country," Clarke said. "They want to get better and they want to improve.

"We were competitive in that game against the best team in the world, ranked number one, so there's a lot of positives, but obviously we're professionals and we don't like to lose the game."

Romelu Lukaku continued his fine international form with a double as Belgium eased to a 3-0 win over Scotland in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Belgium have now won four out of four matches in Group I after a victory in Brussels on Tuesday that rarely looked in doubt.

Manchester United forward Lukaku scored once in each half to make it 25 international goals in his last 21 appearances and in truth he should quite conceivably have finished with four or five to his name.

Kevin De Bruyne sealed the win with a 20-yard strike in stoppage time as Steve Clarke suffered his first defeat as Scotland manager and his side now sit three points behind second-placed Russia.

Belgium dominated a first half that saw the visitors squander their only chance through Oliver Burke and lose Stuart Armstrong to injury, with away goalkeeper David Marshall saving well from De Bruyne early on.

Another effort from De Bruyne was wonderfully tipped away from the top corner by Marshall, before the Manchester City star laid on a great close-range chance for Lukaku that the striker somehow managed to block with his own foot.

But Lukaku made up for that one minute into stoppage time, rising above Scott McKenna to thump in a header from six yards after Eden Hazard had linked up with his brother Thorgan and floated in a clever cross.

Lukaku could not convert a superb headed chance early in the second half, while De Bruyne's free-kick was saved by Marshall.

But the powerhouse striker got his second after 57 minutes, tapping in a rebound after Marshall tipped away an effort from De Bruyne, who Scotland claimed was offside in the build-up.

Lukaku twice fired just wide as he sought a hat-trick, while Thibaut Courtois confirmed his clean sheet with a key late save from McKenna before De Bruyne netted after a neat exchange with substitute Dries Mertens to give the scoreline a more realistic look.



What does it mean? Belgium in control

Belgium have won four straight matches in qualifying and are producing fluent, attacking performances with the likes of De Bruyne and Hazard instrumental. Displays like this make it look very unlikely they will be prevented from claiming a smooth passage to the Euros.


Hazard magnificent ahead of Real Madrid arrival

Real Madrid fans would have loved what they saw from in-form Hazard, who created seven chances and was a constant threat to end his season on a high.


Scotland need more from McTominay

Scotland do not have many players playing for major clubs, so they need more from those who do like United's Scott McTominay, who conceded four fouls, did not create a single chance for his team-mates nor see much of the ball.


What's next?

Belgium have an easier assignment on September 6 when they travel to San Marino, which is when Scotland host Russia in a vital contest for the race to finish second.

Steve Clarke believes there were plenty of positives for Scotland to take after Oliver Burke's late winner against Cyrpus.

Clarke looked to be heading for a lacklustre draw in his first match in charge of Scotland, with Ioannis Kousoulos' 87th-minute header having cancelled out a stunning strike from Andrew Robertson.

But substitute Burke came to the rescue two minutes later to lift Scotland onto six points in Euro 2020 qualifying Group I.

Group favourites and leaders Belgium are up next for Clarke's side, who sit third, level on points with Russia after three games played.

And though he acknowledged that Scotland's play - which was at times sluggish and toothless - will not change until he has had more time with the team, Clarke is feeling buoyant ahead of Tuesday's trip to Belgium.

"The way we showed character to bounce back gives us good hope for the future," he told Sky Sports.

"I've only had seven training sessions, so it won't change overnight. I've given the lads a lot of information and I think some of them have taken it on too literally.

"It was a game we couldn't afford to lose and we handled that pressure.

"I thought we did okay. At 1-0, I thought we were comfortable but we switched off from a set play. It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves but the players showed great resilience and that's a good sign.

"I'm confident we have a group players who will certainly make it a difficult night for Belgium. A lot of things to be pleased about and a lot of things to work on."

Steve Clarke's Scotland tenure got off to a winning start as Oliver Burke's last-minute effort secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Cyprus in Saturday's Euro 2020 qualifier.

Clarke replaced Alex McLeish as Scotland manager in May, but he looked to be heading for a disappointing draw in his first game in charge when Ioannis Kousoulos scored with three minutes remaining.

Kousoulos' header cancelled out Andrew Robertson's stunning strike, which had put Scotland ahead just after the hour.

But parity was short lived, with substitute Burke tucking home at the second attempt after heading Ryan Fraser's cross against the woodwork.

Scotland are now third in Group I with six points from three matches, three adrift of leaders Belgium, while Cyprus are fourth in the pool.

 

Jamaica Reggae Girlz striker Kayla McCoy has been ruled out of taking part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup after sustaining an injury in a practice match against Scotland last week.

The 22-year-old McCoy, who is based in the United States where she represents the Houston Dash, joined the squad in September before being selected to the final 23-man squad last month.

The player, however, sustained an injury after replacing follow forward Khadijah Shaw as a late substitute in Jamaica’s 3-2 loss against Scotland.  Shaw also sustained an injury during the match. 

The duo was initially listed as day-to-day, but it appears the injury for McCoy is worse than initially believed.  An MRI scan taken on Monday showed the player had sustained damage to her ACL. 

The injury has been reported to be a partial tear of the ligament, recuperation from which can take anywhere between 3 and 6 months.  A replacement for the player is expected to be named shortly.  The Reggae Girlz have been drawn in a Group C alongside Brazil, Italy and Australia. 

The national team will make its World Cup debut against Brazil on Sunday at the Stade des Alpes, Grenoble.  The prognosis for Shaw is better as the player is expected to make a full recovery in time for the tournament.

 

 

 

Reggae Girlz forward Khadija Shaw suffered a sprained ankle during the Reggae Girlz 3-2 loss to Scotland on Tuesday and it remains unclear when she will return to action with the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup set to kick off in 12 days' time.

Jamaica are sweating on the health of their key player Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, who suffered a leg injury during their 3-2 loss to Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday.

Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hue Menzies said his players have managed to put the weekend’s travel mishaps behind and are settling in nicely before Tuesday’s final World Cup warm-up match against a tough Scotland unit on Tuesday.

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