You are viewing the content for Monday 6 February 2006

Heart monitors explode as Scots win

Scotland 20 France 16
SCOTLAND coach Frank Hadden claimed his players would have "exploded" heart monitors considering their outstanding efforts to shock France in yesterday’s throbbing RBS 6 Nations Championship opener.

The nation’s international side finally gave their boss something to be proud of with a famous and unexpected success at Murrayfield.

Sean Lamont scored two tries and Chris Paterson added 10 points with his boot to give Scotland their first victory over their under-par opponents since 1999.

Hadden enthused: "I was asked when I took the job did I feel proud. I actually didn’t feel proud then because the thing that really makes you proud is when you do something special for your country and bring more success in the professional era.

"You have to work hard to do that but obviously I was massively proud of the lads’ performance. I mentioned during the week about heart rate monitors which we wore against New Zealand.

"The fact the players were praised for their fitness gave us a lot of confidence and I think some of them (the monitors) might have exploded today."

Hadden had no idea whether his side had improved sufficiently to beat France but he believes there is still much more to come.

Scotland go to Wales next week and he added: "I said before the game we would play well but we didn’t play brilliantly. There are still some bits of rust in there but in terms of guts, determination and commitment to the cause it was absolutely outstanding.

"We knew we were playing well but we didn’t know we would play well enough to win. The refereeing decisions and all the factors that go into top level rugby went well. We knew we would play well and have a chance. But I am just delighted we crossed the finish line first."

Hadden’s decision to pair Mike Blair and Dan Parks at half-back was also justified. Glasgow stand-off Parks has come under fire in the past and his boss urged the detractors to back off.

Hadden said: "You guys in the press are invaluable when you talk us up. But the people that are still mud-slinging at Dan Parks really need to have a long hard look at themselves. Dan answered them in perfect fashion today."

Blair also proved Hadden right in selecting him ahead of British and Irish Lion Chris Cusiter.

Hadden added: "He is a top quality player and I am very lucky with the two scrum-halves I have got. Mike certainly was at the top of his game and made two very good breaks which were very exciting. I don’t feel as if we have shown our hand yet.

"I am just happy with the quality of the handling in a very tough game. Everyone was fantastic."

Hadden revealed Blair was ready for Wales after getting a bang on the nose but he is sweating on the fitness of Marcus di Rollo.

"We will wait until tomorrow for Marcus," he added. "I am not sure if he tweaked a hamstring or it’s just cramp. We hope it was not too serious but he could carry on. Mike got a bang on the nose."

French head coach Bernard Laporte praised Scotland and admitted his side’s hopes of winning the championship had been reduced by 50%.

He said: "Scotland stopped us playing and this is a very difficult place to come. They never let us to get into a rhythm and now I think we have a 50/50 chance of winning this championship."

SCOTLAND: Southwell, Paterson, Di Rollo, Henderson, Lamont, Parks, Blair, Kerr, Hall, Douglas, Kellock, Murray, White, Taylor, Hogg.

Replacements: Webster for Di Rollo (29), Ross for Parks (63), Cusiter for Blair (59), Lawson for Hall (63), Smith for Douglas (41), MacLeod for Kellock (72), Petrie for White (71).

FRANCE: Brusque, Heymans, Fritz, Valbon, Dominici, Michalak, Elissalde, Marconnet, Szarzewski, De Villiers, Pelous, Thion, Nyanga, Bonnaire, Martin.

Replacements: Bousses for Brusque (74), Yachvili for Elissalde (40), Bruno for Szarzewski (65), Milloud for De Villiers (35), Lievremont for Bonnaire (71).

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa).