Standout scrumhalf Antoine Dupont returned to the side and starred as France rallied and then held on to beat Scotland 30-27 in a warmup match for the Rugby World Cup on Saturday, August 12.
Scotland scored three straight tries to claw back from 27-10 down to tie the scores with seven minutes left, thanks to right winger Kyle Steyn's second try. Flyhalf Finn Russell missed the conversion and paid for it when France fullback Thomas Ramos nailed a last-minute penalty near the posts.
Flyhalf Romain Ntamack scored France's first try near the end of the first half and right winger Damian Penaud dived into the left corner shortly after the restart, with Dupont setting up both.
Flanker Charles Ollivon's try came moments after Penaud's effort. Following a superb break from inside the half, Dupont and Ramos combined to send him through.
Last weekend, Scotland rallied from 21-3 down with 14 men to defeat France 25-21 at Murrayfield. If that was a largely second-string France side, this was more like the full-strength team that coach Fabien Galthie expects to pick at the World Cup and Les Tricolores bounced back from 10-3 down.
Scotland took the lead after five minutes through Steyn's converted try at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, which hosts matches during the World Cup. After scrumhalf Ali Price was sin-binned in the 29th, France quickly made the extra man count when Dupont fed Ntamack, who dummied a pass before darting inside and Ramos converted to make it 13-10.
The second half saw Scotland getting overwhelmed and Ntamack had another try chalked off for a knock-on. But Scotland left winger Duhan Van der Merwe was left unmarked to touch down in the corner to make it 27-15 in the 63rd, with Russell missing the conversion.
Russell slotted over from close range just minutes later after flanker Rory Darge barged over, bringing the Scots within five points with 10 minutes left. French fans were sweating when Steyn collected a kick ahead and touched down, but Ramos sent them home happy.
Three-time runner-up France opens the World Cup against three-time champion New Zealand at Stade de France on September 8. Scotland starts its campaign against defending champion South Africa in Marseille two days later.