Finn Russell rues luck as Scotland fall to France's fightback

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter could not explain what went wrong with Finn Russell’s bizarre missed conversion after his side lost 22-16 to France in Paris.

Finn Russell miskicked a penalty that would have put Scotland five points in front in the 43rd minute.

Two Camille Lopez penalties in the final 10 minutes proved the difference as Scotland failed to build on a lightning start to the second half of their Six Nations clash against France.

Lopez kicked 17 points in all to add to Gael Fickou’s try as France ran out 22-16 victors in Paris.

The Scots had moved ahead in the 43rd minute when substitute Tim Swinson added to Stuart Hogg’s first-half try, but Finn Russell somehow missed the easiest of conversions which would have put Scotland five points in front. As the ball fell flat off the tee, the Glasgow stand-off kicked it underneath the bar from close range.

Instead, Lopez kicked France level and the hosts proved too strong in the final 20 minutes.

Russell’s hurried kick from underneath the posts would have put Scotland 18-13 ahead. There were suggestions that resource coach Nathan Hines had urged Russell to take the kick quickly amid French appeals for the try to be reviewed. They had claimed there was a push on full-back Scott Spedding as Tommy Seymour chased his own dangerous lob before feeding Swinson.

Cotter said: “I haven’t asked the question or found out. It hasn’t been discussed yet. If the gap was only two points in the game you might be asking a bit more, but it wasn’t. That will be something we will have a look at.

“To come away with one point I suppose is better than no points and we will just move on, as we do, quickly from this to the next game.”

France coach Guy Noves was relieved to get a much-needed victory. “We had lost three games in a row so we needed the victory, that was all that mattered,” he said.

“Scotland displayed good quality, they gave us a hard time, especially in the rucks. We lost too many balls and showed our weaknesses in the 22.

“But I’m very happy for the players. Last week we lost to England in the final 15 minutes and I’m delighted to win this game in the final 10 minutes.”

Scorers for France:

Tries: Fickou. Cons: Lopez. Pens: Lopez 5.

Scorers for Scotland:

Pens: Russell, Laidlaw.

FRANCE:

Spedding, Nakaitaci, Lamerat, Fickou, Vakatawa, Lopez, Serin, Baille, Guirado, Atonio, Vahaamahina, Maestri, Goujon, Gourdon, Picamoles.

Replacements:

Huget for Vakatawa (53), Machenaud for Serin (56), Chiocci for Baille (59), Tolofua for Guirado (72), Slimani for Atonio (45), Le Devedec for Maestri (59), Chouly for Goujon (60).

SCOTLAND:

Hogg, Maitland, Jones, Dunbar, Seymour, Russell, Laidlaw, Dell, Brown, Fagerson, R. Gray, J. Gray, Barclay, Watson, Strauss, Hardie.

Replacements:

Bennett for Dunbar (57), Weir for Russell (75), Price for Laidlaw (25), Reid for Dell (45), Ford for Brown (67), Berghan for Fagerson (59), Hardie for Barclay (36), Swinson for Hardie (41).

Referee:

Jaco Peyper (South Africa).


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