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By James Mackenzie
PARIS, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo’s second-half try and five penalties by flyhalf Lionel Beauxis gave a sluggish France a 22-13 victory over Scotland at the Stade de France on Saturday.
Scotland held their own in the first half and winger Thom Evans added to two earlier Phil Godman penalties with a try ten minutes from time but the visitors never seriously threatened to beat the home side.
France started the match under pressure to make up for last week’s opening 30-21 loss to Ireland while Scotland, who have not won at the Stade de France in 10 years, were easily overcome by champions Wales.
France coach Marc Lievremont, who said before the match that a loss would be a “humiliation”, was disappointed by a series of French errors and a failure to break down a determined Scottish defence more decisively.
“There was a lack of precision, too many mistakes,” he told a news conference. “I had been hoping for a nice evening, spending Saint Valentine’s with my wife but I think I‘m going to have to be getting in a video session to see what went wrong.”
The Scots started brightly against a nervous France, forcing Beauxis into a mishandle just after the kickoff and they continued to exert pressure during a tight first half.
Beauxis missed two early penalties but was successful either side of flyhalf Godman’s first shot at goal on 33 minutes to give the hosts a 6-3 lead at the break.
France, playing in white, came out looking much more determined and immediately put Scotland under pressure with winger Maxime Medard coming close to scoring after hacking a stray ball forward.
Scotland were unable to resist the next French assault with Medard again involved before Ouedraogo surged over the line despite opposition claims of a forward pass. Beauxis converted to open up a 13-3 lead.
Godman scored a second penalty to keep his side in touch and after another from Beauxis, the Scots struck after an extended phase of play near the French line when Evans slipped inside his marker and crossed the line near the post.
The conversion by substitute Chris Paterson held out some hope but Beauxis kept the score ticking over with one more penalty and put the match out of reach eight minutes from time.
Scotland captain and scrumhalf Mike Blair said the team had battled well in the face of a lopsided 7-3 penalty count.
“There were things that went against us and we were still right in the game against a good French side,” he said.