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Vern Cotter content with decision to turn down penalty

Published 06/09/2015

Vern Cotter had no concerns over Scotland's decision to turn down a penalty and a draw
Vern Cotter had no concerns over Scotland's decision to turn down a penalty and a draw

Vern Cotter backed his team's decision not to take the penalty which would have handed the Dark Blues a draw in Paris.

The Scots were left chasing a result against France in their fourth and final World Cup warm-up match after wing Noa Nakaitaci's late touchdown put Les Bleus ahead.

But skipper Greig Laidlaw and his players opted against knocking over a simple kick which would have tied the match as they instead chose to go for the win.

The gamble back-fired though as the hosts held out for a 19-16 win at the Stade de France, denying Scotland their first win in Paris since 1999.

Cotter said: "The boys wanted to get the win. It's been a few years since we had one [in Paris]. They wanted to get over the line and created several line-breaks.

"It was a good attitude to take. It was a game where we were testing ourselves.

"It's the players' decision and I completely back it.

"If it had been a Six Nations match of course we would have kicked it but we are preparing for a World Cup and I admire the decision to try to win the game."

Laidlaw added: "If we had kicked the goal we'd have taken a draw but just with the manner of the game, we came to win. It was a team decision in the end and we felt we could win."

Scotland claimed a 9-6 half-time lead despite a disjointed first-half showing blighted by a misfiring line-out and a series of needless handling errors.

And they looked set for victory themselves when a moment of magic from Laidlaw put them 16-12 up with 15 minutes left.

The scrum-half fired the ball into a gaping hole in the French defence for Tommy Seymour to in and score.

However, the joy did not last as Nakaitaci battered through the Scots' defence for the winning try.

Cotter's men had showed plenty of bravery and determination as they fought to keep out the hosts just yards from their own try line but were undone by the powerful wing and Laidlaw admitted: "It was a tough one.

"Clearly we were ecstatic when we knocked them into touch after a long spell of pressure.

"But we let them off the hook. We coughed it up and found ourselves under pressure. Eventually we cracked and they got the try.

"The line-out creaked at times during the match but we would rather it creaked now than in a few weeks when the World Cup starts. We'll work on it this week and try to tidy it up in training.

Scotland face Japan, the United States, South Africa and Samoa in Pool B but Laidlaw feels his side are in good shape.

"It's disappointing, especially as we have not won in Paris in such a long time, but it's a good building block for us going into the World Cup."

France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre said: "I didn't think we were fortunate. We had four or five opportunities to score. We had control for most of the match.

"Scotland's discipline was quite poor. They conceded 17 penalties and a yellow card (for David Denton). They are a tough team and we knew it would not be an easy game. But we deserved to win."

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