Cronin's two tries set perfect example

Scotland A 38 France A 32
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Scotland A 38 France A 32

Damian Cronin gave a captain's lead with two tries as Scotland won an amazing A international with France, full of cut and thrust, in front of a 7,000 crowd at Myreside, Edinburgh, yesterday.

Cronin struck from the kick-off and midway through the second half sold an outrageous dummy to romp 20 yards for a touchdown.

Still Cronin was not satisfied with his scoring feat and when he was denied a hat-trick for offside during a move which ended with him gliding over out on the wing - suspicions abounded that the big second row was versatile enough to cover every position on a replacements' bench. A total of nine tries were scored - four in a madcap spell midway through the second half.

But Scotland A, who led 26-10 at half-time and had fine performers in the New Zealand-born openside flanker Nick Broughton and the Exiles centre, Ronnie Eriksson, held their nerve when France came back strongly - and they held their tempers in check when they were faced with some severe provocation.

Scotland's manager, Dougie Morgan, highlighted the fierce scrummage exchanges in particular and said with a grimace: "The front rows were enjoying themselves in a funny sort of way."

The referee, Hugh Thomas, of Wales, was forced to retire at the interval with a hamstring injury. Touch-judge Johnny Bacigalupo, who earlier this season officiated in the European Cup, took over and was able to maintain the flow of an enthralling spectacle.

Scotland A: Tries Cronin 2, Stark, Renwick; Conversions Welsh 3; Penalties Welsh 4. France A: Tries Delaigue 2, Vendetti, Campan, Lamaison; Conversion Lamaison; Drop goal Merceron.

SCOTLAND A: S Lang; C Glasgow (Heriot's FP), G Shiel (Melrose), R Eriksson (London Scottish), D Stark (Boroughmuir); S Welsh (Hawick), D Patterson (West Hartlepool); M Brown (Melrose), G Ellis (Currie), B Stewart (Edinburgh Academy), D Burns (Boroughmuir), D Cronin (Bouges, capt), P Walton (Newcastle), B Renwick (Hawick), N Broughton (Melrose). Replacement: S Lang (Instonians) for Welsh, 67.

FRANCE A: C Lamaison (Bayonne); S Venditti (Bourgoin), Y Delaigue (Tpulon), O Campan (Agen), D Berty (Toulouse); G Merceron (Montferrand), F Galthie (Colomiers, capt); F Tournaire (Narbonne), H Guiraud (Nimes), J-L Jorana (Pau), H Miorin (Toulouse), J-P Versailles (Montferrand), C Moni (Nice), T Labrousse (Brive), S Dispagne (Toulouse).

Referee: H Lewis (Wales) replaced by J Bacigalupo (Scotland), h-t.