Cotter expects France to pose Scotland monumental challenge

Alicia WestFeb 13, 2017

Scotland coach Vern Cotter refused to use injuries as an excuse for his team's 22-16 defeat to France in the Six Nations.

Scotland outscored France by two tries from Stuart Hogg and Tim Swinson to one from Gael Fickou but couldn't match their opponents' power at times and gave away a succession of penalties.

Cotter also stopped short of criticising Finn Russell, who inexplicably missed a routine conversion from under the posts which would have handed Scotland a five-point advantage - they led 16-13 at the time.

Scotland rumble in to week two of the 2017 Six Nations on a high, having demolished Ireland on the opening weekend. "France have a massive physical pack but we chucked it away in the end I think".

But Laidlaw reckons it is the outcome of the crucial lessons Vern Cotter's men have learned about seeing out matches when they come to the crunch.

France only led by two points at the interval
France only led by two points at the interval

"There were bits of the game where we didn't link particularly well and we will certainly have a look at how we can improve that".

"We want to construct tries with the quality of our attacking game and put them under pressure with our defence, and being good both sides of the ball. That will be something we will have a look at". We made a lot of mistakes in the first half, but we desperately needed the win. "We were in the lead and definitely in a position to win - so everyone is disappointed because we could have won it". "We're [France's] next opportunity to get their campaign up and running and they'll be intent on throwing every part of their considerable firepower at us this Sunday", BBC quoted the Scotland coach as saying. Coming away with one point is better than no points.

Rather than scraping by on penalties and the odd try, Scotland is much more ambitious and often daring, thanks to the panache of fullback Stuart Hogg and the cunning of scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw allied to usually relentless forwards. They got six points clear and it was going to be tough from there. "The first thing you do in the game is psychologically just as important for them as it is for us".

Despite not crossing for another try, Lopez knocked over three penalties, two of which came in the last eight minutes as French kept alive their hopes of claiming the Six Nations title. But in that second half, we didn't keep the ball as we would have liked. Noves has yet to find a way to make his side clinical in the way England was last weekend, beating France with a late try despite being second best for long spells. We weren't looking after it.

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