Six Nations: France end Scotland’s Grand Slam dreams as two sent off in Paris thriller
Scotland’s hopes of a first Six Nations Grand Slam were ended in Paris as France secured a 32-21 triumph in a match where two players were red-carded.
Gregor Townsend’s men had a disastrous start, conceding a try to Romain Ntamack and seeing Grant Gilchrist sent off for a shoulder to the head of Anthony Jelonch.
Les Bleus then extended their advantage when Ethan Dumortier crossed the whitewash, but the visitors were given hope as Mohamed Haouas was given his marching orders for effectively headbutting Ben White.
Although the French went over for a third time thanks to Thomas Ramos’ score, the visitors began to edge their way back into the contest, and Huw Jones touched down before the break.
Ramos added a three-pointer before Jones crossed the whitewash for the second time to increase the nerves for the French.
And when Finn Russell scored with 13 minutes remaining, Scotland had all the momentum, but the hosts controlled the final stages impressively and sealed the bonus-point win when Gael Fickou crossed the whitewash.
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France made the breakthrough in the fifth minute when Ntamack bolted over on the left after being set up by Antoine Dupont, who had collected the ball from the back of a ruck. Ramos duly kicked the conversion.
Things got worse for the Scots just two minutes later when – following a TMO review – Gilchrist was shown a red card for appearing to plant his shoulder in the face of Jelonch. The Frenchman was forced off to be replaced by Francois Cros.
The hosts made the extra man count within seconds when Dumortier was presented with an easy touchdown on the left after good work by Ntamack and Dupont to create the opening. Ramos hit the post with his conversion attempt.
With Scotland in danger of being blown away, flanker Hamish Watson was sacrificed in the 10th minute to make way for replacement lock Jonny Gray to come on and fill the void left by Gilchrist.
The eventful start to the match continued in the 12th minute when Frenchman Haouas – who was red-carded against the Scots in 2020 – was sent off for flying round the side of a ruck and banging heads with Ben White.
The evening up of the numbers did not halt the hosts, however, and they got their third try of the match in the 19th minute when Ramos seized on a loose pass from Russell inside the Scotland half, and the full-back darted clear down the left before touching down behind the posts. The try-scorer then added the conversion himself from close range.
Scotland eventually started to settle into the match, and they got their first points on the board in the 26th minute when Jones bounded over after being set up by Russell.
The French went in at the break with a 15-point advantage after Ramos kicked a penalty in the 36th minute.
Scotland made further inroads into their deficit three minutes into the second half when Jones forced his way over for his second try of the match after being set up by Sione Tuipulotu. Russell was again on the mark with the conversion.
Another Ramos penalty in the 56th minute edged France 11 points ahead, but the Scots remained in the ascendancy and they got themselves a third try in the 68th minute when Russell reached over after being played in by replacement Ali Price.
The Scots were within four points of what would have been a famous fightback but the French regained their composure in the closing stages, with Fickou scoring a 79th-minute try, converted by Ramos, to put the outcome beyond doubt.
READ MORE: WATCH: Scenes in Paris with TWO players sent off in the opening 20 minutes of the Six Nations clash
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