New-look France sound warning

NEW-LOOK France got their RBS 6 Nations Championship campaign off to the perfect start with an impressive victory against lacklustre Scotland at Murrayfield.

Man of the match Vincent Clerc scored two tries, one in each half, to hand Marc Lievremont immediate success in his first match as coach.

Julien Malzieu, one of four debutants in the starting XV with a further two on the bench, also crossed for his maiden international try in the first half as the visitors proved too mobile and well organised for Frank Hadden’s side.

Scotland had gone into the game with high hopes that their settled side could get their Six Nations off to a successful start but could only muster six points from the boot of Dan Parks, who otherwise endured a miserable game.

Scotland’s more experienced side committed costly errors throughout whereas Lievremont’s youthful team, with only six players from the World Cup squad in the starting line-up, displayed admirable composure in carrying out their game-plan.

Lievremont was delighted with the style and confidence his side showed.

The 39-year-old was determined to bring an increased guile into their play and he urged them to express themselves and keep the ball.

But he was most pleased with the team spirit among a squad that included six new caps.

Lievremont said: “I’m delighted, a few things didn’t click but I’m absolutely delighted.

“I was pleased with the way we played the game – trying to attack and keep possession.

“I encouraged them to be confident – I have a quality group at my disposal.

“I want them to enjoy it, there are still plenty of things to work on but the main thing was the team spirit and collective effort.

“I’m delighted above all with the attitude of the players. There was some hard combat, in the nicest sense of the word. We didn’t have much time to prepare but we came through with team spirit and our defence held out right to the end.

“I admit luck was on our side but I’m pleased with the control we showed. We lost little possession and very few turnovers.

“We were able to impose our own pace and rhythm on the game in view of the way Scotland sometime start the game, but they didn’t this time.”

Scotland coach Frank Hadden said: “Obviously the changing room is desperately disappointed by the performance. We made the sort of elementary errors that bedevilled us at the critical stage during the World Cup.

“That was extremely disappointing – but let’s not take anything away from the quality performance of the French. They played with tremendous pace and I thought their defence was outstanding. We created a few chances but they shut the door very quickly. If we got past their front line they scrambled very well to keep us out.

“But there’s also no doubt the bounce of the oddly-shaped ball played a part in the afternoon. Without taking anything away from the French, a bouncing ball played a part in all of their tries.

Scotland scorers: Pens: Parks. Drop Goals: Parks.

SCOTLAND: Lamont, Walker, De Luca, Henderson, Webster, Parks, Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Murray, Hines, Hamilton, White, Barclay, Callam.

Replacements: Southwell for Lamont (61), Paterson for Parks (61), Cusiter for Blair (65), Thomson for Ford (73), Kerr for Murray (58), MacLeod for Hamilton (54), Brown for Callam (50).

France scorers: Tries: Clerc 2, Malzieu. Cons: Elissalde 2, Skrela. Pens: Traille 2.

FRANCE: Heymans, Malzieu, Marty, Traille, Clerc, Trinh-Duc, Elissalde, Faure, Servat, Brugnaut, Nallet, Jacquet, Ouedraogo, Dusautoir, Vermeulen.

Replacements: Rougerie for Clerc (72), Skrela for Trinh-Duc (58), Parra for Elissalde (65), Szarzewski for Servat (50), Mas for Brugnaut (50), Mela for Jacquet (62), Bonnaire for Vermeulen (54).

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

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