Murrayfield holds no fear for French
February 20, 2012
France's Mathieu Bastareaud dives over for a try on his side's last visit to Murrayfield in 2010 © Getty Images
Scotland will attempt to breathe life into their faltering Six Nations campaign with a rare win over France when the two sides go head-to-head in Edinburgh on Sunday.
The two sides have played each other a total of 84 times since their first meeting in 1910. France hold the all-time advantage with 47 victories to Scotland's 34 with three games (in 1922, 1966 and 1987 at the inaugural Rugby World Cup) the other three games ending in a draw. France have won 12 of the last 13 matches, including a record run of seven in a row between 2000 and 2005.
France prevailed on their last visit to Murrayfield thanks to a brace from centre Mathieu Bastareaud that propelled the visitors to a 18-9 victory. Les Bleus followed that up with a 34-21 in their most recent encounter in Paris during last year's Six Nations.
Scotland's highest score was 36-22 in the 1999 Paris win that clinched the last ever Five Nations title. Their biggest margin of victory stands as the 31-3 win in 1912 when French rugby was in its infancy.
The record individual score for a match in this series was established by Frederic Michalak in the 2003 World Cup pool game when he scored 28 in Sydney. He finished with a full-house of scoring actions: try, four conversions, four penalty goals and a dropped goal. The scoring record for Scotland was set by Michael Dods with 19 points at Murrayfield in 1996.
The legendary Flying Scot, Ian Smith, is the only player who has crossed for four tries in a match. He did so in 1925 in a 25-4 victory during Scotland's first Grand Slam season. That match was the last-ever international staged at Inverleith. The only French try hat-trick was scored by wing Eric Bonneval in Paris in 1987.
Some of the game's household names head the lists of overall records for the series. Philippe Sella appeared 14 times in the series between 1981 and 1995 (Jim Renwick played a dozen times for Scotland), Gavin Hastings scored 116 points in eleven games between 1986 and 1995 (Serge Blanco and Christophe Lamaison share the corresponding French record on 42 points) and the famous Scottish wings in the all-Oxford threequarter line of the 1920s, "Johnnie" Wallace and Ian Smith, each rattled up six tries. Blanco scored five tries for France.
Scotland-France Six Nations results:
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.
"I think the work I do in defence gets spoken of a little too much as it comes at the expense of what I do in attack." Brad Barritt talks to Tom Hamilton