Scotland 'did enough to win' as Townsend rues Six Nations defeat to France

By Sports Desk February 26, 2023

Scotland boss Gregor Townsend claimed his team did everything but take their chances as they fell 32-21 to France in Paris, seeing Grand Slam hopes collapse.

The visitors came back from an early 19-0 deficit to close to 25-21 going into the final moments, when Gael Fickou went over for a clinching try.

After beginning their campaign with wins over England and Wales, the Scots arrived at the Stade de France believing they could extend their successful run, but an early red card for Grant Gilchrist put them in trouble.

Fabien Galthie's hosts pulled clear but were down to 14 men themselves when Mohamed Haouas was ordered off for a head-on-head hit on Ben White.

Head coach Townsend said: "From our perspective we're disappointed not to win. I'm so proud of a lot of aspects of the game, how we played, the effort that we put in, our togetherness, our resilience that was on show, but we created enough chances to win the game.

"We created enough chances to be leading at half-time, which was incredible to think when we were a man down and points down on the scoreboard. We believed we could win that in the second half, and we're just disappointed we didn't come away with a win.

"In the second half the game opened up even more, and we had opportunities to take them on wide, which we did. We just didn't take those opportunities. Credit to France in defence, but we probably played better today than in our last two games, and we did enough to win. We feel we did enough to win, but you've got to take those opportunities when you play the top teams in the world."

There is still a chance of a Triple Crown, with unbeaten Ireland heading to Murrayfield in two weeks' time.

"It's big for us to be still in the competition with two games to go, to be playing for a trophy and the Triple Crown," Townsend said. "It'll be a different game against Ireland. I don't think it will be as open. We'll wait and see if it is, and they're a difficult team to play against.

"But we really believe in what we have here. We've got up against one of the best teams in the world on their own patch with 14 men, and we've come away really disappointed not to get a win or get four tries against their defence."

France defence coach Shaun Edwards reflected on a dramatic match, saying Les Bleus knew the size of the challenge they faced.

"It's difficult to sum it up because there were so many ebbs and flows: red cards, fantastic tries, interceptions," Edwards said. "It had the lot, some fantastic goal-kicking as well. It was a high-class game.

"We knew we were playing against a high-quality opponent. They're the only team to have beaten us here since Fabien took over, so we were doubly determined not to let that happen again.

"It ended up being 14 against 14 so that was equal, but obviously having an advantage at first for us was something we took, and we picked up some points. It doesn't affect that much in defence. I think both teams adapted well."

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