The XV of France won the shock of Pool B of the Autumn Nations Cup against Scotland (15-22), Sunday, November 22. With only one try registered during the game, Fabien Galthié’s men were able to get rid of the Scottish trap to finally win on their land.
It had been six years since the Blues had won at Murrayfield. The XV of France succeeded Sunday, November 22 this feat, by dominating Scotland 15-22 on behalf of the Autumn Nations Cup. The only try of the match, scored by Virimi Vakatawa, will have freed the France team, mired in a duel of penalties.
Fabien Galthié’s men thus take their revenge against the nation which had prevented them from achieving the Grand Slam at the last Six Nations tournament. They are also in a perfect position to take first place in the group, in the event of victory against Italy, Saturday, November 28.
The action of the match: Vakatawa’s only try
Barely two minutes after the restart, Virimi Vakatawa concludes a fine French action undertaken by Antoine Dupont and Gaël Fickou. At the end of a scrum won by the French pack, the Toulouse scrum half transmits to the Parisian center, which finds Vincent Rattez thanks to an inside pass. The winger pierces the Scottish line alongside Vakatawa, who withstands a charge from two opponents to flatten the ball.
The Racing 92 player embodies one of the rare actions built from a rather messy XV of France. He is also forgiven for the wasted opportunity in the first half, just before half-time. On a pick and go phase, he finds himself behind the goal line, but ends up on his back and cannot flatten.
Fact of the match: the French scrum takes over
The French pack proved its superiority by winning almost all of the duels against its Scottish equivalent. On closed scrum as on carried balls, the forwards pushed back the opposing pack and grabbed many meters. Returning in the second period, Toulouse’s Julien Marchand and Cyril Baille also shone on these stopped phases. The scrums were finally the opportunity for Mohamed Haouas, expelled during the previous meeting, to redeem himself.
But this tendency to seek direct play and pick and go in front of the goal did not allow the Blues to sufficiently exploit the wings. If Vincent Rattez played a few actions, especially during the only French test, Teddy Thomas only touched two or three balls on his right wing. Yet lonely during certain offensive phases, they were rarely served or put in good shape.
Thomas scores points, Jalibert misses the mark
Before halftime and Vakatawa’s test, the meeting between France and Scotland could be summed up in a distant duel between Duncan Weir and Thomas Ramos on penalties. Five goals for the Scottish opener against four penalties and a transformation for the Toulouse back: the two kickers were impeccable. Thomas Ramos took advantage of the absence of Anthony Bouthier to return a more than correct copy to the coach.
Matthieu Jalibert did not have the same success. Holder in place of Romain Ntamack, hit in the thigh, the opener never seemed to make his mark on this match, sometimes taking too long to decide with the ball. He still allowed the French team to regain the advantage in the first half thanks to a drop, but his performance is not convincing enough to worry the Toulouse opener.
We will meet the XV of France on Saturday November 28, for its last qualifying match against Italy. In case of victory, they will qualify for the final of the competition, where they will face the first in Pool A, currently dominated by England.