Scotland head coach and former British & Irish Lion Gregor Townsend was left to rue mistakes after his side lost 27-10 to France in the Six Nations.
Looking to earn a first victory of their Six Nations campaign, Les Bleus started strongly at the Stade de France and scored a stunning opener early on through teenage fly-half Romain Ntamack.
Greig Laidlaw, who made six appearances on the Lions’ Tour of New Zealand in 2017, responded with a penalty, but France grabbed second-half tries through Yoann Huget and Gregory Alldritt (two), rendering Ali Price’s score a consolation for the Scots.
“Some of our attack play was good but in the end, we didn’t get the tries when we got into the 22 and that’s down to poor accuracy or poor decisions,” commented Townsend, who started the first two Tests on the Lions Tour of South Africa in 1997.
“If we look at our performance, it was certainly worse than expected, what we put out there.
“France played well and they brought more energy to the game than we did, especially early on.”
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Townsend’s men began the match with four Lions in their starting XV, including Laidlaw, wings Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour, and prop Allan Dell.
France got the game’s opening try in style on 13 minutes, with young full-back Thomas Ramos beating several defenders and feeding wide to Penaud, with Ntamack evading the final tackler before dotting down.
France made it 10-0 but Laidlaw, who spent 269 minutes on the pitch with the Lions in New Zealand, was pulling the strings in the Scotland attack and got his team on the board with a penalty midway through the half.
The scores remained the same until the second half but Huget struck early after the interval to make it 15-3.
Maitland, who made five appearances for the Lions on Tour in Australia in 2013, made a dazzling break on 55 minutes but couldn’t find Seymour with his pass, with France getting their third through Alldritt on 75 minutes.
Pete Horne’s break led to Price’s score two minutes from time but Alldritt drove over from a yard out to earn France’s bonus point to close out the match.
Townsend added: “We didn’t show the energy we have to show to win away from home against France and that’s really disappointing.
“I think the bench made a great impact and that’s a credit to them – they took the attack to France but it was too little too late.”