France 30-27 Scotland, Saint Etienne
A powerful performance in the final quarter did not prove enough as Scotland were edged out by France with a 27-30 margin in the Rugby World Cup warm-up game in Saint Etienne on Saturday.
Scotland managed to overcome a 21-3 deficit to beat France at Murrayfield and came close in achieving it on Saturday before Thomas Ramos kicked a decisive penalty goal in the closing stage.
Finn Russell's perfectly weighed kick allowed Scotland to set a 5m attacking line out and from there on they exerted pressure on the hosts with eventually Kyle Steyn diving over for his first try in the third minute. Russell kicked the conversion as Scotland raced to a 0-7 lead.
France got their first points with an 8th minute penalty kick from Ramos but it was cancelled out as Russell kicked a three-pointer of his own to restore the seven point lead for Gregor Townsend's men.
Ramos reduced the deficit with his second penalty goal in the 21st minute but soon the Les Bleus went into the ascendancy as Antonie Dupont at the base of the scrum sent a perfect pass for Romain Ntamack to dot down and Ramos improved as the teams completed the opening half with a 13-10 scoreline.
Scotland were desperate for a breakthrough in the second half but they went on to concede two tries with Damien Penaud forcing his way over after a fumble from Pierre Schoeman and shortly Ramos fed Charles Ollivon for their third try. With Ramos converting both the tries, France stretched their lead to 27-10.
Penaud thought he scored his second try of the game but a knock on from Ntamack was spotted by the TMO as the gap continued to remain at 17 points. As the game entered the final quarter, Duhan van der Merwe dotted down after good work from Huw Jones. Russell missed out on the conversion this time.
Scotland stepped up the ante as Rory Darge dived from close range before Steyn completed his second in the 74th kick after collecting an offload from George Horne. With the conversion drifting wide, the scores were levelled at 27-27 with five minutes left.
Just as the game entered the final two minutes, France won a scrum penalty which Ramos kicked over to complete a thrilling victory.
France: T Ramos; D Penaud, G Fickou, J Danty, G Villiere; R Ntamack, A Dupont; G Alldritt, C Ollivon, P Boudehent; T Flament, C Woki; D Aldegheri, J Marchand, C Baille.
Reserves: P Bourgarit, J-B Gros, U Atonio, F Verhaeghe; B Chalureau, S Macalou; M Lucu, L Bielle-Biarrey.
Scotland: B Kinghorn; K Steyn, H Jones, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; F Russell, A Price; P Schoeman, G Turner, W Nel; R Gray, G Gilchrist; J Ritchie, R Darge, J Dempsey.
Reserves: S McInally, R Sutherland, J Sebastian, S Cummings, S Skinner, J Bayliss, G Horne, O Smith.