Galthie the director of an awesome power play

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The Independent Online

Any hopes Scotland had that France's tremendous win over England would leave a residue of complacency were soon dashed, and no one can be in any doubt that this is a great side in the making.

Any hopes Scotland had that France's tremendous win over England would leave a residue of complacency were soon dashed, and no one can be in any doubt that this is a great side in the making.

France can now complete the Grand Slam against Ireland in Paris and then go on to challenge for higher prizes – they are developing in all directions, with plenty of excellent players competing for places.

If Scotland had any pace they might have run them closer, but there was no question who were the masters of Murrayfield yesterday.

What I particularly like about this French team is the way they have added potency and power to their traditional flair. They have conquered the discipline problems that used to cost them dearly in game after game, improved their approach to defence and they are also playing with a lot of thought.

They knew that Scotland would give them an intense battle yesterday but they were also well aware that Scottish pace wouldn't give them a problem. So they forced Scotland to play from deep, knowing that the Scots couldn't make quick thrusts from distance.

When you haven't got pacy players you have build and build until you get into good field position. Scotland managed to do this on several occasions, but then looked too stagnant to make the final incision. Either that, or they made bad errors at vital times.

All the French had to do was ensure that the middle of their defence was secure so that Scotland would have to go around the outside – and if you haven't got runners you are unlikely to get any joy down the flanks.

Chris Paterson can run a bit but he was given very few openings in good attacking positions. Lack of pace also makes you vulnerable to opponents who can shift, and the French can certainly do that; especially my man of the match – Fabien Galthié.

France's improvement coincides with his period of captaincy and his try down the short side in the second half said everything about his opportunism. Poor Brendan Laney never had a chance of getting to him.

While Galthié runs the show he is surrounded by quality in all key positions. The French back row is awesome. Inamol Harinordoquy continues to impress and practically destroyed the Scottish line-out on his own. Olivier Magne and Serge Betson were magnificent again.

Their front five are formidable and they have a very athletic second row. They are very strong at half-back from where everything is orchestrated and their centre pairing of Traille and Marsh would terrify any defence. Traille is the footballer and Marsh is the basher, and his two tries were typical of him.

Scotland's forwards went well enough but on the whole they lacked ideas. If you lack pace then you have to have ideas.

When they play Wales in their final game on 6 April there will be little to play for but pride and a bit of encouragement for the future. But I'll be taking Wales to win that one purely because they have the fast players Scotland lack.

For Bill McLaren's sake, I hope Scotland do well because that will his last home commentary before he retires. It was an honour to sit next to him yesterday.

He was very emotional at making his last commentary from Murrayfield but you wouldn't have known it from the professional way he went about his job.

I've spent my life among rugby-lovers but I've never met anyone as passionate about the game as Bill. He loves it and I'm sure he'll never be far away from it.

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