France 22-16 Scotland: French revive Six Nations title challenge with six-point win in Paris

France 22-16 Scotland: French revive Six Nations title challenge with six-point win in Paris

A try by Gael Fickou, and 17 points from the boot of Camille Lopez helped France defeat Scotland by six points at the Stade de France

Tom Hiscott

France got back to winning ways, with a 22-16 triumph over Scotland in the Six Nations at the Stade de France in Paris

17 points from the boot of Camille Lopez was the main difference between the sides, with France's dominance at the scrum helping them to play the game in the right area and stifle the Scottish backline. 

The result leaves both teams on five points in the Six Nations table, with England now the only unbeaten team left in the competition following their back-to-back wins to start their defence of the trophy. 

Fickou try hands French slender half-time advantage

From the first whistle, the tone was set in Paris, with both sides electing to keep the ball in hand and run from deep.

Scotland have gained a newfound confidence under Vern Cotter, in part due to Glasgow's excellent season in the Champions Cup and as they attempted to back-up last week's win over Ireland they scored early through a likely source.

Stuart Hogg crosses for Scotland (image source: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Having gone behind to a Camille Lopez penalty, Stuart Hogg, who crossed twice in the triumph over the Irish eight days ago, was on the end of a fine move to go over in the corner for his third try of the Championship to give the visitors an early lead. 

However, the French came back into the game, and after another Lopez penalty had put them 6-5 ahead, a period of sustained pressure eventually saw them cross the line with centre Gael Fickou stretching out to dot down wide out. 

Scotland's hopes took a major blow soon after, with captain Greig Laidlaw forced from the field due to an ankle injury, yet fly-half Finn Russell stepped-up to the plate with the boot and knocked over two penalties to reduce the deficit to 13-11 at the break. 

Lopez boot and French scrum lead them to six-point victory

Despite being on the back foot at the set-piece, Scotland were more than holding their own, and after an exquisite offload from Russell set Tommy Seymour away down the right-hand touchline, they forged ahead with Tim Swinson taking an inside ball from Seymour to go over under the posts. 

Unfortunately for the Scots though, the score yielded only five points and not the seven desired, with Russell rushed by referee Jaco Peyper, forcing him to mishit his conversion which was fired under the bar in a cruel two-point swing. 

As it turned out, that was the final point Scotland were able to manage, as France's scrum dominance really started to take over the game.

The starting front-row of Cyril Baille, Guilhem Guirado and Uini Atonio caused havoc for the hour they were on the field, and it enabled the French to dictate the territory which ended with them claiming the win. 

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.

During Saturday's action, England made it 16 consecutive Test Match wins, with Elliot Daly's late try helping them come from behind to beat Wales 21-16 in Cardiff at the Principality Stadium. Meanwhile in Rome, CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy each scored hat-tricks, as Ireland trounced Italy 63-10 to get their campaign back on track

England celebrate Elliot Daly's late try in the win over Wales (image source: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)