France ended a miserable Six Nations campaign with a 23-16 home win over Scotland which was not enough for them to avoid finishing with the wooden spoon for the first time since 1999.
"This team is young, it has a soul and fights," said the France coach Philippe Saint-André. "But it lacks control, collectively and individually, and you need control and patience when you play rugby at the highest level."
Les Bleus, who had to win by 17 points or 16 with two tries to finish ahead of Ireland, were scoreless at half-time but they were boosted by Wesley Fofana and Maxime Médard. Frédéric Michalak, who injured his shoulder, kicked 11 points but Tim Visser scored a late try for Scotland, who finished third in the table.
Greig Laidlaw had put Scotland 6-0 ahead at the interval with two penalties. Michalak responded with two penalties at the start of the second half to level the scores.
The two traded another kick each before Fofana produced an elusive run to score after great work by Mathieu Bastareaud and Yannick Nyanga. Médard added the second from a clever Maxime Machenaud pass after Bastareaud had broken the line.
But Visser ended French hopes of leaving Ireland with the wooden spoon with a try on the break five minutes from time.
"We were great in our resolve," said interim Scotland coach Scott Johnson. "I was really, really proud of their defence tonight. But we let ourselves down in our kick return stuff. There has been progress, but it doesn't always improve as quickly as you like."
France Huget, Clerc, Bastareaud (Fickou, 74), Fofana, Medard, Michalak, Parra (Machenaud, 40), Domingo, Kayser (Guirado, 54), Mas, Vahaamahina, Maestri, Claassen (Nyanga, 67), Dusautoir, Picamoles.
Scotland Hogg, Maitland (Evans, 30), Lamont, Scott, Visser, Weir (Jackson, 67), Laidlaw (Pyrgos, 74), Grant, Ford (Hall, 74), Murray, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Strokosch, Brown, Beattie.
Referee Nigel Owens (Wales).Reuse content