Rugby: Defensive stand deprives Scotland Six Nations victory over France at Edinburgh

A superb solo score from winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey has led France to a 20-16 Six Nations victory over Scotland at Murrayfield, but there was controversy at the final whistle, as the home side were ruled held up over the tryline.

Scotland believed they had crossed for the matchwinning try with the clock in the red, but Australian referee Nic Berry did not agree.

The Television Match Official took several minutes to review the footage and could not find conclusive evidence to overturn that decision, even though it seemed the ball may have touched the turf.

Nic Berry rules out matchwinning try for Scotland.
Nic Berry rules out matchwinning try for Scotland. Photo credit: Getty Images

It was initially grounded onto the boot of a French player, but then appeared to slip down onto the grass.

The win will be a mighty relief for France coach Fabien Galthie, who came under enormous pressure, following their dismal opening 38-17 loss to Ireland at Marseille.

Trailing by six points with 11 minutes remaining, Bielle-Biarrey had three defenders around him, but with a clever chip and electric pace, he gathered to dot down and fullback Thomas Ramos' conversion gave the visitors the lead for the first time.

Ramos kicked a further penalty, as 'La Marseillaise' rang around the ground, with centre Gael Fickou scoring his team's other try in the first half.

Scotland dominated much of the match and led 13-10 at halftime, thanks to scrumhalf Ben White's score, but could not turn pressure into points on several occasions and were made to pay in a game they looked like winning for 69 minutes.

France struggled in the lineout and were sloppy with the ball in hand in slippery conditions, while the breakdown was a lottery and not controlled by the match officials.

White crossed for Scotland's only try, after a sweeping move down the right wing, involving debutant Harry Paterson and centre Huw Jones. They made the yards, before White was fed on the inside, and the scrumhalf fought off two tacklers to dot down.

Gael Fickou scores a try for France.
Gael Fickou scores a try for France. Photo credit: Getty Images

Scotland were down to 14 players, while flanker Matt Fagerson received treatment, and France were able to use the width of the field for Fickou to canter in for their first score.

The visitors were reduced to 14 players just before halftime, when prop Uini Antonio produced a no-arms tackle and was sent to the sin-bin. It was the first time France have trailed at halftime in back-to-back Six Nations matches since 2016.

The visitors were dealt a blow, when outstanding captain Gregory Alldritt left the field on a stretcher with a nasty gash on his leg on 50 minutes, but through Bielle-Biarrey - and perhaps a little luck - they will leave Edinburgh with a win.