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Scotland denied at the death as they are adjudged to have been held up

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Saturday Feb 10, 2024

Scotland succame to a late French comeback to lose 20 -16 at Murrayfield in what will be an exceptionally frustrating result for head coach Gregor Townsend.

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Trailing 16 – 10 with ten minutes to play, France produced a moment of magic courtesy of winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey, who pulled off a sublime chip and chase. Fullback Thomas Ramos would nail the touchline conversion to put Les Bleus in front 17 – 16 before adding a penalty minutes later to eke out a 20 – 16 lead.

Despite making most of the play throughout the afternoon, Scotland could never quite shake their visitors in what was a titanic struggle.

To their credit, Scotland kept fighting to the very end and almost managed to steal it with a late try, which was adjudged to have been held up.

As ever with a decision like this, it has sparked debate online.

Initially saying he felt the ball was held up, referee Nic Berry went to his TMO Brian MacNeice to find evidence to overturn the decision.

Unfortunately for Scotland, MacNeice was unable to find conclusive evidence to overrule Berry’s decision.

Speaking post-match, Scotland captain Finn Russell said he felt that the try had been scored.

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“I think it was a tough second half. The whole game was an arm wrestle.

“France came out the winning side tonight, but for me that was a try at the end. That’s not for me to decide, that’s up to the referee. That’s why he has the job.

“We’ve got to take this defeat on the chin and get better for England. We can’t let the referee decide what happens in a game, that’s up to us to play better and make these matches a victory.

“The way we got back into the game and the way I believe we scored shows the character we’ve got.

“I’m proud of the boys for that performance, and we will learn from it. I think we will chill out tonight and next week. Some of the boys will be training; everyone needs some time away from rugby.

“It’s an intense competition, and we’ll come back and be ready for the England game. It’s a different challenge from today, but we need to be ready.”

Next up for Scotland is a Calcutta Cup match with England at Murrayfield on Saturday 24th.

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