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The Story of Scottish Rugby
Chapter VIII. Scotland v. France


Scottish intercourse with France began in 1898, when a Parisian team played representative sides of Edinburgh and Glasgow in February of that year. The Edinburgh game was played at Myreside, and though the Frenchmen lost by a goal and three tries to a try, they revealed possession of a good conception of the game, and some of their backs showed strong running powers.

Glasgow, with a stronger team than Edinburgh had turned out, beat the Parisians by 19 points to 3, but the game was spoiled by the condition of the ground, which was frost-bound and barely playable.

It is hardly to be expected that the International series with France, which opened in 1910, would encroach upon the more intimate rivalry subsisting between Scotland and the other home countries, or that the French event would substitute in importance any one of the old time-established fixtures with England, Ireland, and Wales. The French match has earned its status in the International sphere, and Frenchmen are worthy rivals and welcome visitors, but the results bear a detached value not quite reconcilable with that of the other events. Since 1910 Scotland has lost twice in France and once at home. The defeats in Paris carry nothing catastrophic.

It is a long, hard journey to Paris in the dead of winter, and it just requires a little weakness or falling off on the part of the visitors and a corresponding burst of fervour and enthusiasm on the part of the Frenchmen to carry them through. The defeat of Scotland at Inverleith in 1921 is another matter. There, the Frenchmen won on their merits, and while there was nothing out of the way in their forward work generally, they were strong in the essential of obtaining possession of the ball in the scrums, and their back play was in better style than that of Scotland, whose three-quarter line, I. J. Kilgour, A. E. Thomson, A. L. Gracie, and J. H. Carmichael, was of poor International class. In contrast, there was a good deal to admire in the work of the French halves, E. Billae and A. Piteu. The full-back, J. Clement, was a clever player, and little R. Got, on the wing, won for himself an exclusive crowd of admirers. Scotland took no credit out of that match. France won again by a couple of points in a high-scoring match at Paris last year, and though the" Frenchmen this season could not contend with the combination and running of the Oxford line of three-quarters, they brought with them a 'stand-off' half-back, Y. du Manoir, who even under adverse conditions looked a player of exceptional ability.


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