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'We’ve done it three times now': Jamie Ritchie is confident in Scotland's superior fitness

By PA
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jamie Ritchie feels Scotland can take “loads of confidence” from their strong fightback against France this calendar year ahead of the upcoming World Cup.

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Gregor Townsend’s side were 27-10 down to the full-strength Les Bleus in Saint-Etienne on Saturday night, but roared back to 27-27 before succumbing to a late Thomas Ramos penalty and losing 30-27 against the team ranked second in the world.

Similarly, in February, the Scots mounted a stirring recovery from 19-0 down to get within four points of the French in Paris in the Six Nations before a late try gave the hosts a 32-21 victory. And last week at Murrayfield, Scotland overturned a 21-3 deficit to defeat Fabien Galthie’s team by a 25-21 scoreline.

“We can take loads of confidence,” said skipper Ritchie. “I don’t know many teams in the world that can go 18 points down (last week), 17 points down (on Saturday), 19 points down (in February) against France and come back to be in a position to win it at the end.

Points Flow Chart

France win +3
Time in lead
46
Mins in lead
27
56%
% Of Game In Lead
33%
25%
Possession Last 10 min
75%
3
Points Last 10 min
5

“We’ve done it three times now. I’m really proud of that and there is loads of confidence we can take from it, but there are small learnings we can take. They are not massive fixes and I know we can do them because we did it for 75 minutes of this game.”

Ritchie feels Scotland’s ability to stage back-to-back recovery missions against one of the top teams on the planet is testament to their fitness ahead of the World Cup.

“I’m a little bit tired, a little bit frustrated and there’s also a bit of pride,” he said. “I’m feeling a bit of everything.

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“I feel like we started really well which was what we asked of the boys during the week. We focused on that on the back of last week and I thought we did it really well.

“We weathered a bit of a momentum shift where we gave away a few penalties, but we were only three points down going into half-time having been a man down. I was happy with that.

“I knew that we would be the fitter team in the end, which we showed. But I’m a bit frustrated with that five-minute period at the start of the second half where we know that they are dangerous on counter-attack and we let them score two tries.

“We came into the huddle and said, ‘we were 21-3 down last week and came back so there is no reason why we can’t do it this week’.

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“We didn’t need to change what we were trying to do, but in defence we needed to make sure we were forcing a tackle contest off kicks and getting into our system.”

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