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Six Nations tournament: Scottish shower for the Blues, the sacred Wales

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Saint-Denis (AFP)

Back to earth. The XV of France, who was to register four tries and win with a 21-point difference to win the Six Nations Tournament, fell to Scotland (27-23) on Saturday at the Stade de France.

Wales, who have won four of their five meetings, are sacred with four points ahead of France. Ireland completes the podium.

A try by winger Duhan van der Merwe at the very end of the game changed the game for Scotland, who won in France for the first time since 1999.

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The Blues of Fabien Galthié scored three tries, by the back Brice Dulin (36th), the winger Damian Penaud (46th) and the second row Swan Rebbadj (66th) but narrowly bowed after the yellow card from Baptiste Serin (73rd).

Above all, they were unable to widen the gap against uninhibited Scots: with a Finn Russell XXL and two tries from Duhan van der Merwe (15th, 80th + 5) and another from David Cherry (61st). The winger ends up best scorer (5).

And to think that they were outnumbered twice, on the yellow cards of Stuart Hogg (40th) and red of Finn Russell (71st) …

The XV of France therefore ends the 2021 edition in second place, just behind the Welsh, therefore, crowned for the 28th time in the Tournament, the fifth in the Six Nations era.

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The English title holders slide to a very sad 5th place, just ahead of the eternal Italian wooden spoon, which has not won in the Tournament since 2015, a series of 32 consecutive defeats.

– 5th title for Alun Wyn Jones –

This is the fifth title in the competition for eternal Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones. The legendary second line with 157 selections, including 9 with the British and Irish Lions, will nevertheless have to wait for Saturday afternoon to lift the trophy, during a ceremony organized at the training center of the XV du Leek.

As in 2020, the French finished second by dropping the future winner at the Stade de France (England 24-17 last year, Wales 32-30 this year). With players of the caliber of Antoine Dupont or Romain Ntamack, the Blues can see life in pink but this is again insufficient to win a first Six Nations Tournament since 2010.

Galthié, for his part, will perhaps console himself by telling himself that, with two second places in a row, he made the best debut of a coach since Jean-Claude Skrela (3rd in 1996 but Grand Slam in 1997).

Sitting on the bench of the Blues, the former scrum half has lost only four of his first fifteen meetings. But these defeats, 28-17 in Scotland then 22-19 after extra time and 23-20 in England, cost them three titles: the 2020 Tournament, the Autumn Nations Cup and the 2021 Six Nations.

– Revenge of the Picts –

His predecessors, Jacques Brunel (4th in 2018 and 2019), Guy Novès (5th in 2016, 3rd in 2017), Philippe Saint-André (4th in 2012, 6th in 2013) and Marc Lièvremont (3rd in 2008 and 2009), no. hadn’t done better in their first two tournaments.

Even Bernard Laporte, current president of the FFR, admittedly started with a 2nd place in 2000, but his Blues had finished the 2001 edition in 5th and penultimate place.

Not sure that this consistency is enough to make the Blues smile. They scored three tries on Saturday, as many as in their last two matches against XV du Chardon. But they got their feet in the mat at Twickenham, against England (23-20).

Too bad for a XV of France able to adapt to everything: the counter team which took advantage of the slightest breach in front of Italy (50-10) has turned into a cold monster of realism in Ireland (15-13 ), before being more playful in England (23-20). And, finally, to show an incredible character to derail Wales (32-30) on the road to his Grand Slam.

Against Scotland, Charles Ollivon’s teammates have once again shown self-sacrifice, but they could not (know?) To get this first trophy that they claimed in the week.

The young French team, just under 26 and 24 selections on average at kick-off, still have some progress to make.

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