Rugby Union: `Most enterprising Scots performance'

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The Independent Online
THE SCOTLAND COACH Jim Telfer praised his team's 36-22 victory at the Stade de France yesterday but insisted that his side still had plenty of room for improvement before the World Cup.

The winger Kenny Logan, who kicked four conversions and a penalty, called on Telfer to reverse his intention to quit after the World Cup but his plea fell on deaf ears. "I will not be changing my mind, it is time to move on," said Telfer, in the afterglow of a performance that will rank alongside any produced by a Scottish side, preferring to focus on a game which Scotland won by five tries to three, all scored within the first 30 minutes of a breathless game.

"As far as international rugby was concerned, the first half was unbelievable," said Telfer. "Everything we had worked on in training seemed to come off. We were so positive, it was one of the most enterprising Scottish performances I have seen for a long, long time.

"When we had the ball we looked dangerous and we could have scored four or five more tries. The players worked so hard for each other. I was trying to call them to kick the ball at times, but they just wouldn't."

The centre Alan Tait and the flanker Martin Leslie ran the ball with the flair that used to be France's trademark, but Scotland's two most impressive players were the full-back Glen Metcalfe and the fly-half Gregor Townsend, who became the first player since France's Philippe Sella in 1986 to score a try in each game in the championship.

Armstrong said he and his team had taken great pleasure in avenging last year's humiliation at Murrayfield: "It was good to do to France what they did to us last year. Today it was nice to go through them like a knife through butter."

Even the French fans appreciated the Scots' supremacy, breaking off from the taunting of their own side to applaud the almost constant wave of Scottish attacks. Grand Slam winners for the past two seasons, France have now suffered three consecutive defeats, leaving the France coach, Jean-Claude Skrela, bemused at the shift in fortunes: "Last year I hoped the Scots would return to their best quickly so we could improve the tournament. This year I hope it is us who get back quickly."

Scotland now face an anxious wait to learn their Five Nations fate, hoping that Wales can defeat England at Wembley today and hand Scotland the last Five Nations title.