‘Dignified’ Scotland praised for their ‘humility’ in the wake of controversial France defeat

Colin Newboult
Scotland's players applauding the fans after France defeat in the 2024 Six Nations.

Scotland's players applauding the fans after France defeat in the 2024 Six Nations.

France great Pierre Berbizier believed that Scotland “taught us a lesson” of how to behave following the weekend’s Six Nations encounter.

Berbizier was critical of Les Bleus’ head coach Fabien Galthie, who has been accused of taking a slightly sarcastic tone when discussing the disallowed try.

The French opened their 2024 Six Nations account with a 20-16 triumph over the Scots, but it could have been very different had Sam Skinner’s score been awarded.

Scotland’s request

Gregor Townsend was angry with the decision post-match, while in the subsequent days it has been revealed that Scottish Rugby wanted World Rugby to admit that an error was made.

The global governing body has since rejected that request in a saga which has gone on well after the event.

However, despite the obvious bitterness over the officials’ decision, the ex-France scrum-half felt that Townsend and his players handled themselves impeccably.

“I liked the dignity of the Scots, whether on the pitch or Gregor Townsend in his statements. And I think we should take example when we see the end of the match,” Berbizier told RMC Sport.

“We should have shown a little humility. They may have lost, but they taught us a lesson.”

Berbizier also feels that the fallout from the disallowed try has prevented France from delving into their “real problems”, with their talented squad not delivering enough silverware for his liking.

“France has still lost its last three World Cups at the quarter-final level. It’s not just Fabien Galthié’s problem,” he said.

“The debate on refereeing has suited us well, it has avoided addressing our real problems: defence, efficiency etc. We find the same problems today. And since we never take real stock, we have difficulty addressing our real problems.”

Under pressure

Galthie has been under pressure following their World Cup elimination and the subsequent home defeat to Ireland.

Berbizier described that recent 38-17 loss in Marseille as a “humiliation” and the 65-year-old was not exactly impressed by what he saw against Scotland.

Galthie was content with their display at Murrayfield, but the ex-Italy head coach felt that the players were doubting themselves.

“From what the players showed on Saturday, we feel a broken spring. We see a lot of confusion about the performances on the field, between a game of defence and a game where we make the movement. We are in between, we can’t really place it,” he added.

“After the cruel disillusionment of the World Cup against South Africa and the terrible humiliation against the Irish, we sense a lot of questions in the heads of the players.

“We are having difficulty putting the answers in place on the ground. It’s the most difficult situation for a player, for a team: entering the field with questions in your head.”

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