France Six Nations victory ends Scotland’s Grand Slam hopes
France defender Thomas Ramos scored 17 points to end Scotland’s hopes of a Six Nations Grand Slam victory 32-21 on Sunday.
Scotland suffered their first Championship defeat of the season after wins over England and Wales, ending their hopes of winning a first Grand Slam since 1990.
The two sides played with 14 players for just over an hour after Grant Gilchrist was shown the red card for the visitors and Mohamed Haus for the hosts.
Fabien Galthie’s home side played their first home game of the year six months before hosting the Rugby World Cup after losing to Ireland a fortnight ago, so stalwart Haouas started in place of the suspended Uini Atonio.
Flanker Hamish Watson is back with Gregor Townsend after suffering a concussion in November.
Townsend’s visitors, looking for a second victory in Paris in 24 years, decided to play in a strong first-half but failed to capitalize on the advantage early on.
Ramos’ conversion gave them a 7-0 lead just five minutes later when Romain Ntamac crossed in the French half, to the delight of most of the crowd at the sold-out Stade de France.
Scotland’s victory hopes were dealt a further blow two minutes later in the Paris sun as Locke and vice-captain Grant Gilchrist were shown red cards for a high tackle on Antoni Yelonchi.
Les Bleus scored on winger Ethan Dumortier’s second try after 120 seconds to make it 12-0 after Ramos missed the play-offs.
Watson’s Test return lasted just 11 minutes as he was replaced by specialist second-row Jonny Gray with Gilchrist out, and his impact was immediate as he was tackled at the French five-metre line.
Judging by the rolling maul, both teams had 14 players on the field each as Haouas was sent off three years after away scrum-half Ben White was sent off.
Scotland failed to take full advantage of good territory and trailed 19-0 as Ramos intercepted Finn Russell’s pass to run a quarter of the game unopposed from 50m.
Five minutes later, Russell delivered the ball to center Hugh Jones for an away score and a first-half extra to make it 19-7.
Things calmed down after a frantic start half an hour before Toulouse’s Ramos extended his side’s advantage to 22-7 at half-time.
Scotland were out after the break and Jones went down in his second attempt after 48 minutes.
With Russell coming off a 22-14 turnaround with just over half an hour left, the Racing 92 playmaker still looked relaxed on the court in his adopted home city.
With 25 minutes left, Galti’s team led 25-14 when Ramos scored the second penalty of the game.
With 12 minutes left in the game, the visitors fought back and Russell attacked the French defense, found an open jumper, and converted to make it four.
Scotland’s hopes of a comeback were dashed with 20 seconds left as player of the match Gael Fickou scored an extra point for France and Ramos an extra.