Scots eye end to French dominance
January 31, 2011
Scotland's Thom Evans tackles France's Cedric Heymans during their clash at the Stade de France in 2009 © Getty Images
Scotland will go in search of a rare win over France when the two sides go head-to-head in Paris on Saturday in their opening Six Nations fixture.
The two sides have played each other a total of 83 times since their first meeting in 1910. France hold the all-time advantage with 46 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 has won 11 of the last 12 matches, including a record run of seven in a row between 2000 and 2005.
France prevailed last season thanks to a brace from centre Mathieu Bastareaud in their 18-9 victory at Murrayfield. Les Bleus were also victorious when the two sides last met in Paris - where a try from Fulgence Ouedraogo and 17 points from the boot of fly-half Lionel Beauxis carried the hosts to a 22-13 win.
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.
Scotland have never won at the Stade de France in the Six Nations with their only two victories in the last 20 meetings of the side being a Gavin Hastings and a Gregor Townsend-inspired 23-21 success in 1995 and 36-22 win in 1999.
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.
France-Scotland Six Nations results:
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards rewinds to 1864 to mark the birth of Welsh rugby's first authentic star - Arthur Gould
Michael Cheika has succeeded in becoming the Wallabies coach under his own terms, writes Greg Growden
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time