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May 30, 2017

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France keep Six Nation hopes alive with win over Scotland

EDINBURGH -- France kept their Six Nations titles hopes alive with a last gasp 19-17 win away to Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Scots were on the brink of winning their first Test in eight matches against France when New Zealand referee Chris Pollock awarded a debatable penalty in front of the posts as the ball came out from a ruck.

Replacement Jean-Marc Doussain made sure of the kick and there was barely any time left for Scotland to mount a comeback.

Victory — France's first away from home in the Six Nations since winning at Murrayfield two years ago — left Philippe Saint-Andre's side in with a shout of a winner-takes-all title clash with Ireland in Paris next week.

"We take the win, I think," Saint-Andre told the BBC as he acknowledged France's good fortune.

"Fair play to Scotland, they play very well with a lot of spirit. They scored two good tries. Our discipline was good and at the end we managed to win but I can't say it was our best game.

"But that is three wins in four and we'll prepare for a big game against Ireland."

An entertaining first half ended with Scotland 14-9 in front after Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour scored tries converted by Greig Laidlaw, with recalled scrum-half Maxime Machenaud kicking three penalties for the visitors.

France wing Yoann Huget's converted intercept try early in the second half saw the French go 16-14 in front and threatened to knock the wind out of Scotland's sails.

But with fly half Duncan Weir, whose last minute drop-goal secured a 21-20 win away to Italy, landing a key penalty after throwing the poor pass that led to Huget's try, Scotland had a one-point lead heading into the final quarter.

Impressive Scotland No. 8 David Denton made no attempt to hide his anguish, saying: "This is one of most disappointing days I've had in a Scotland jersey."

"We were very unlucky at the end there. We did really well, the front row in particular, against a French side who came here to beat us up at the set piece but we dominated the game."

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