World Rugby

France Defeats Scotland In Controversial Circumstances At Murrayfield

France Defeats Scotland In Controversial Circumstances At Murrayfield

France defeated Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations, as referee Nic Berry said Sam Skinner was held up for what would have been the match-winning try.

Feb 10, 2024 by Philip Bendon
France Defeats Scotland In Controversial Circumstances At Murrayfield

France got its 2024 Guinness Six Nations back on track by pulling off a heist to end all heists to defeat Scotland 20-16 at Murrayfield. 

Trailing by six points with 10 minutes left to play, a moment of French flair from Louis Bielle-Biarrey helped secure the win.

Setting off down the left-hand touchline, the 20-year-old winger pulled off a picture-perfect chip and chased to get over the try line. 

Fullback Thomas Ramos would nail the conversion to put France in front by a single point moments later, adding a crucial penalty to take the scores to 20-16. 

Yet despite being in the red on the clock, Les Bleus were left to sweat it out, as Scotland barged over the try line for what appeared to be the match-winning score. 

Following minutes of deliberation between referee Nic Berry and TMO Brian MacNeice, there was not enough conclusive evidence to overturn Berry’s initial held-up call. 

Speaking after the match, Scotland captain Finn Russell was clear that he did not agree with the match officials’ decision, as he felt Sam Skinner had got the ball down. 

"I think it was a tough second half," Russell said. "The whole game was an arm wrestle. France came out the winning side tonight, but for me, that was a try at the end. That's not for me to decide, that's up to the referee. That's why he has the job. 

"We've got to take this defeat on the chin and get better for England. We can't let the referee decide what happens in a game, that's up to us to play better and make these matches a victory. 

"The way we got back into the game, and the way I believe we scored, shows the character we've got. 

"I'm proud of the boys for that performance and we will learn from it. I think we will chill out tonight and next week. Some of the boys will be training; everyone needs some time away from rugby. 

"It's an intense competition, and we'll come back and be ready for the England game. It's a different challenge from today but we need to be ready." 

Joining his captain in feeling the try had been scored, head coach Gregor Townsend discussed the call but was keen to lament that Scotland had let this one slip. 

"We were celebrating in the coaches box. We could hear the TMO's conversation with the referee, saying 'the ball was on foot then the ball was down' and then he changes his mind and says 'stick with the on-field decision'. I don't know what you can say. 

"From a coaching perspective, you've got to win the game and not put it in the hands of TMOs and referees and that is what we will work on. 

"We were in control of the game and in control most of the way in tough conditions. We had to play a different way, and I'm really disappointed we didn't win the game. We felt we won the game - we saw the ball on the try line." 

As Townsend touched upon, Scotland was in control for the bulk of the contest but couldn’t quite shake the visitors. 

Instead of pushing on, Scotland appeared to close up shop in an attempt to see out the game. This appeared to give the French several opportunities, one of which was the decisive Bielle-Biarrey try. 

Next up for Scotland is a Calcutta Cup clash with England at Murrayfield, while France will host Italy in Lille.

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