Saturday 5 February 2011

French off to a Flyer

France 34 (T: Medard, Penalty, Harinordoquy, Traille; C: Parra 2, Yachvili; P: Yachvili; DG: Thrinh-Duc)

Scotland 21: (T: Kellock, Brown, Lamont; C: Parks 2, Jackson)

Kelly Brown battles through for the second Scotland try
The scoreline doesn't reflect it, but Scotland played quite well this evening. 3 tries from an away side in Paris was good to see and certainly there were signs of promise.

But the French were, at times, just in a different class, especially on the break. The freedom and space they had at times made the Scottish back-line just look silly.

Scotland's problem was not putting their mark on the game early enough and mistakes at crucial points with the basics. They'll have to work on the line-out as we lost the first try to a poor throw and were lucky to get away with it a couple of other times. The first-half scrum was uncharacteristically poor with Euan Murray being the unlikely weak link. That seemed to sort itself in the second half but that penalty try was costly given when it came.

Kellock's and Lamont's tries were particularly good and it shows how much more effective you can be if you resist the temptation to move sideways. Straightening up and running hard at a defence will always make the yards if you've got support. Ball handling into the tackle wasn't great and Scotland will need to learn to resist the urge to off-load especially if they're on the blind-side. That cost the try that put the French out of sight and the last 20 minutes was always going to be difficult.

A refreshing change from a few years ago where if Patterson didn't kick we didn't get points, though. If we cut out the elementary errors we should be a good match for anyone. If the French play against other teams like they did at times today, they'll win the Grand Slam.

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