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Gregor Townsend: 'It's a horrible feeling'

By PA
Gregor Townsend /PA

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Scotland coach Gregor Townsend lamented the loss of two tries either side of half-time as his side were ultimately thrashed 36-17 by Grand Slam hopefuls France at BT Murrayfield.

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Les Bleus made a strong start and scored two brilliant tries in the opening 13 minutes but the home side looked to be in the ascendancy towards the end of the first half as a try from Rory Darge just before the half-hour mark helped cut the deficit to 12-10.

However, France scored a third try against the run of play in the very last action of the half and then scored again two minutes into the second half to go 26-10 ahead and seize full command of the match.

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Asked about the loss of those tries, Townsend said: “It was tough on the players, particularly the try after half-time.

“We were disappointed not to have gone ahead when we had a couple of opportunities to score before half-time.

“We were frustrated to concede from a lineout on the half-way line when the momentum was with us (at the end of the first half). The belief was still there at half-time and we had learned a lot from the first half that we discussed at half-time.

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“That French try (at the start of the second half) came from an attack around the 22 when we had the ball so you can class it as a breakaway try. That must have been a blow for the players on the field.”

The French scored six tries while Scotland mustered just two, and Townsend – while pleased with the spirit his team showed – admitted they were beaten by the better side on the day.

“France won more moments than us in the game and we didn’t put them under enough pressure over the 80 minutes,” he said.

“We put ourselves under pressure at times and France put us under pressure. There were some positives. Our scrum was very strong and the effort was there for 80 minutes.”

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Scotland went into the match with high hopes but captain Stuart Hogg, who dropped the ball when he had a chance to put his side ahead at 12-10, admitted they did not do themselves justice.

“It’s a horrible feeling because we wanted to give a true reflection of what we’re about and at times we showed that but unfortunately not enough,” he said. “If you let a team like France get on the front foot, it’s very difficult to stop them.

Nick Haining
Nick Haining /PA

“The first three tries they scored were very good but they were from our mistakes, which is very frustrating. We also let two try-scoring opportunities go in the first half.

“We spoke a lot about what’s needed going into the last two games but it’s a horrible feeling that we have to wait two weeks to go into the next game.”

The French remain on course for a Grand Slam after winning at Murrayfield for the first time since 2014.

Influential captain Antoine Dupont said: “There is a lot of satisfaction to be drawn from this game.

“We made a very good start, then we gave them some points. They came back but despite that, despite two or three errors in our camp, we did not panic.

“The state of mind has always been good, even if there were difficult moments. We stayed together, united collectively throughout the match, which paid off in the end.

“We didn’t necessarily have very good memories here at Murrayfield but we know the importance of all matches in the tournament, the away matches too.”

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