March 8, 2020 / 5:06 PM / 21 days ago

Rugby-Scotland crush France's Grand Slam dream after Haouas sees red

EDINBURGH, March 8 (Reuters) - A red card for a moment of recklessness ended France’s hopes of a Six Nations Grand Slam on Sunday, as they lost 28-17 to a clinical Scotland in a meltdown with echoes of their ill-disciplined exit from the World Cup last October.

The game turned on the expulsion in the 33rd minute of Mohamed Haouas for throwing a punch, in an echo of Sebastien Vahaamahina’s red for an elbow in the quarter-final defeat to Wales in Japan, but Les Bleus were in trouble before the card.

They lost flyhalf Romain Ntamack early to a head knock and conceded a string of early penalties as poor discipline returned to haunt the tournament favourites.

Scotland were ruthless in their decision making, with Adam Hastings kicking early points to build a lead before Sean Maitland bagged a brace of tries and Stuart McInally romped over against the tiring 14-man France.

France’s failure to secure even a bonus point leaves them tied on 13 points with England, who beat Wales 33-30 in an equally bad-tempered clash at Twickenham on Saturday marred by a red card for try-scorer Manu Tuilagi.

Ireland are also still in the title hunt but need to hope they eventually get to play their fixture against Italy, scheduled for Saturday but postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Lawrence White Editing by Toby Davis)

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