Scots won't blame injuries for loss

France's Camille Lopez, who kicked 17 points in the 22-16 win over Scotland, is tackled by Hamish Watson (right) and Zander Fagerson. The visitors had four players leaving the field injured during the match in Saint-Denis.
France's Camille Lopez, who kicked 17 points in the 22-16 win over Scotland, is tackled by Hamish Watson (right) and Zander Fagerson. The visitors had four players leaving the field injured during the match in Saint-Denis.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

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

Scotland lost four players to injury during the course of the match at the Stade de France, starting with captain and first-choice kicker Greig Laidlaw with an ankle problem after just 25 minutes.

Three more players also hobbled off while centre Alex Dunbar was forced off for five minutes after a knock to the head, although he was able to continue.

"We train for these types of scenarios. It's not ideal but we certainly wouldn't use it as an excuse," said New Zealander Cotter, who preferred to focus on his team's at-times heroic defending.

"The players showed a lot of courage not to take a try in the last 10 minutes on our line. We defended well.

"Some of our play didn't link well, we'll have to look at it. We lost players but we regrouped pretty well."

Despite the win, France captain Guilhem Guirado felt that his side would need to improve at the breakdown ahead of their trip to Ireland in two weeks' time.

"It was a scrappy match, there was a lot of disorganised play where we struggled," said the 30-year-old hooker.

"We only had three or four balls maximum to play with. The match was broken up by lots of turnovers.

"The breakdown was crucial because we gave away seven or eight penalties. That showed what we've got to work on before Ireland."

While France coach Guy Noves said the most important thing was the victory following three narrow losses in a row to Australia, New Zealand and England, he admitted that he too was not happy with the performance.

"Obviously in terms of the content we're frustrated. Even though Scotland took their chances with their qualities, they really disrupted us in the rucks," said the former Toulouse boss.

"We spilled quite a few balls and were weak in the scoring zones."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2017, with the headline 'Scots won't blame injuries for loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe