France vs. Scotland: Winners and Losers from 2015 Six Nations Clash

Danny Coyle@dannyjpcoyleFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2015

France vs. Scotland: Winners and Losers from 2015 Six Nations Clash

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    Michel Euler/Associated Press

    France ground their way to an opening-day victory in Paris over a Scotland side that showed promise of better days to come in this Six Nations championship.

    Vern Cotter's men scored the game's only try, but Camille Lopez's boot was successful with five of six penalty attempts to hand Les Bleus' red-shirted players a 15-8 win.

    Let's dissect the winners and losers from a bruising Test.

Winner: Scotland's Rekindled Ambition

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    Michel Euler/Associated Press

    Scotland may not have arrested the run of results in Paris that has seen them lose all their fixtures there this century, but in attacking intent and outlook they were equal to France.

    For the French, creative verve with ball in hand is supposed to be second nature. For Scotland, such a mindset has seemingly been hiding in a cupboard somewhere in the bowels of Murrayfield for about a decade.

    Under Vern Cotter they seem more comfortable in their own skin, suddenly aware of the talent their players possess and the damage they can do if it is put to good use.

    They scored the only try of this game, and in Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg and a well-matched centre pair of Alex Dunbar and Mark Bennett, they have backs to cause any defence problems.

Winner: Camille Lopez

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    It has looked for some time as though Camille Lopez is the man to finally drive a wedge into the revolving door of the French fly-half position.

    The Clermont Auvergne No. 10 was assured in the autumn, and his boot was reliable yesterday to kick all 15 points for his team.

    There have been flashier men to have worked in the French pivot shirt, but few as consistent as Lopez.

Loser: France's Finishing

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    Despite Scotland's vastly improved team, France were the better side and created far more opportunities.

    That they couldn't finish one of them off will trouble Philippe Saint Andre.

    It certainly troubled Benjamin Kayser, as he told The Independent's Hugh Godwin: "If we'd finished on one of our six or seven occasions we got near the line in the second half it would have been a lot more stress-free."

    In Dublin next week, you sense France will need to be much more clinical, as they are unlikely to get as many chances to score as they did in Paris.

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