|France (13) 23|
|Try: Dulin, Penaud, Rebbadj With: Ntamack Pens: Ntamack 2|
|Scotland (10) 27|
|Try: Van der Merwe 2, cerise With: Russell 2 Hastings Plume: Russell 2|
Wales won the Six Nations as 14-man Scotland claimed their first victory in Paris since 1999 to dash France’s title hopes.
The hosts, who needed a bonus point and a 21-point margin of victory, had just one try and a 13-10 lead at the break.
Damian Penaud’s score in the second half showed France’s danger, but they were never able to free themselves from their visitors.
Scotsman Finn Russell was shown a late red but Duhan van der Merwe pitted for a decisive late try.
It was only fitting that a championship that was filled with close matches and breathtaking finals would end with another decisive score and the clock in the red.
As the Scottish players leaped skyward to celebrate Van der Merwe’s step and end, France collapsed on the soggy pitch at Stade de France.
However, their hopes of winning the Wales trophy were long gone.
This is the sixth title in the Six Nations era for a Wales side who entered the campaign as a separate loser after a disappointing autumn.
It could easily have happened sooner, and with the added decoration of a Grand Slam for Wales – only for France to keep the Wales celebrations on the ice and their own hopes alive with a points victory last breath bonus on Wayne Pivac’s men six days ago.
But the two tasks of running in four tries and racking up a 21-point margin of victory on a tight turnaround proved far too steep.
Tandy’s beefed up defense stifles France’s flair
Rightly so, it was a Welshman who played a key role in France’s denial. Since arriving at the end of 2019, defense coach Steve Tandy has turned Scotland into the meanest defense in the Six Nations.
They conceded the fewest points in last year’s championship and also stifled their opponents in this edition.
The critical period came on either side of half-time.
In a soaked and empty Stade de France, Van der Merwe’s close-range try had survived suspicion of a double move to help Scotland take a 10-6 lead.
France soon forged its way in the ascendant, encamping on the line of Scotland, but found itself at every turn in dead ends.
Chris Harris’ skillful cover and bravery on contact were particularly impressive.
Brice Dulin crossed the line before the break but, even with Scotland captain Stuart Hogg in the sin-bin for the first nine minutes of the second half, Scotland did not fall apart.
Romain Ntamack passed a hole in a hole, Virimi Vakatawa returned a discharge from the back of his hand and Penaud chipped, chased and failed for a good score.
But France could not reproduce these bursts of flair. And Scotland wouldn’t let them