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Succession of injuries prove costly for Scots in France

France 22-16 Scotland

By Gavin McCafferty

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter could not explain what went wrong with Finn Russell's bizarre missed conversion after his side lost 22-16 to France in Paris.

Russell hurried a kick from underneath the posts as he attempted to put Scotland 18-13 ahead early in the second half following Tim Swinson's try.

As the ball fell flat off the tee, the Glasgow stand-off kicked it underneath the bar from close range.

There were suggestions that resource coach Nathan Hines had urged Russell to take the kick quickly amid French appeals for the try to be reviewed. They had claimed there was a push on full back Scott Spedding as Tommy Seymour chased his own dangerous lob before feeding Swinson.

But Cotter said: "I haven't asked the question or found out. It hasn't been discussed yet.

"If the gap was only two points you might be asking a bit more, but it wasn't. That will be something we will have a look at."

A succession of injuries proved more costly, including an ankle problem which forced skipper Greig Laidlaw off after 25 minutes.

Deputy captain John Barclay went off before half-time and his replacement, John Hardie, soon made way for Swinson.

Allan Dell quickly followed and Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson also went off under the attentions of team doctor James Robson, while the impressive Alex Dunbar had a long spell off the park following a head knock.

The stoppages contributed to a scrappy second half and France's physical advantage told in the final 20 minutes as they put Scotland under intense pressure following an even opening hour.

However, the Scotland defence stood firm against the onslaught and the difference proved to be two penalties in the final nine minutes from Camille Lopez, who took his tally to 17 points.

When asked whether the injuries had taken their toll, Cotter said: "We train for these type of scenarios. They are not ideal but I certainly wouldn't use that as an excuse.

"I thought the players showed a lot of courage out there in defence. Not to take any try in the last 10 minutes when they were on our line, I thought we defended well and showed character.

"We lost a couple of players and we regrouped reasonably well. It wasn't perfect, we came second best and kept it very tight. We just needed perhaps one more possession and field position to apply pressure and we didn't get it, so credit to them (France)."

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