‘A lot of areas we were second best in’: Stuart McInally admits frustration after Scotland suffer disappointing Six Nations defeat in France
- Scotland fell to 27-10 loss to France despite hopes of first win in Paris since 1999
- Hooker Stuart McInally expressed his disappointment at his side’s performance
- Dark Blues have lost two straight Six Nations matches and next face Wales
Stuart McInally admitted Scotland failed to live up to their great expectations as they delivered their latest let down in Paris.
The Dark Blues believed they could claim a first away victory over France since 1999 despite touching down in the French capital minus a string of key figures.
But they handed Les Bleus the early initiative in both halves and paid the price as the slumped to a 27-10 loss.
Stuart McInally was frustrated at Scotland’s second successive Six Nations defeat
Defeat to Ireland a fortnight ago means it is two Guinness Six Nations losses in a row for Gregor Townsend’s men and the task is not going to get any easier as they close out their Championship campaign at home to Grand Slam-chasing Wales before travelling to London to face England.
The win over Italy back on the opening weekend would be scant reward from a competition in which McInally claims Scotland genuinely believed they could compete for prizes.
‘It’s so frustrating,’ said the Edinburgh hooker. ‘The last couple of years doing so well, the summer tour and in the autumn some good performances.
‘We came into this tournament with a higher level of expectation than we’ve had before and that is what makes days like this so disappointing. You put all your effort into coming here to win, you really believe you can win and you just don’t perform it’s just so disappointing.
‘It’s not just one thing, it’s a whole host of things and a lot of areas we were second best in. So frustrating.’
Scotland will hope to have fly-half Finn Russell back in the side after suffering a head knock
Townsend will hope Finn Russell will have recovered from the head knock which caused him to miss Saturday’s Stade de France showdown by the time Wales pitch up at Murrayfield, while prop WP Nel may also boost Scotland’s set-piece by making his return.
But even with that key pair potentially back in the line-up, Scotland will remain the underdogs against Warren Gatland’s men.
Now McInally has confessed his fears that despite his own side’s progress, they still have not bridged the gap between them and their rivals.
Asked how close he felt Scotland were to grabbing a big win away from home, he said: ‘I don’t know if I’m honest. I would love to say that I know for a fact we’re really close.
‘I do believe we were in a great place. We played some really good rugby in the last 12 to 24 months that shows we can take on anyone in the world but we need to start coming into these tournaments and getting wins in France and going down to Twickenham and really making sure we are competing down there.
‘That’s how we’re going to move forward as a team.’
Young scrum-half Antoine Dupont was a crucial figure as France returned to form in Paris
As well as Russell and Nel, Scotland were also missing the combined talents of Stuart Hogg, Huw Jones, Ryan Wilson and Sam Skinner but McInally refused to blame their injury woes for France claiming a bonus point with tries from Romain Ntamack and Yoahn Huget before Gregory Alldritt’s late double.
He said: ‘We’re really disappointed with Saturday. We put a lot into the week of training and we really wanted to come here and win and do something that Scotland haven’t done in a long time.
‘We gave France too much ball. We weren’t as accurate as we needed to be against a team like that.
‘We’ve had a whole bunch of players out but so have other teams as well. We’re not going to use that as an excuse. We weren’t good enough today. We’ve got two exciting games to finish, Wales at home and England away. All our focus goes onto that.’
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