France picked up their first European Championship title since 2005 with a 28-10 triumph at the Albert Domec Stadium, Carcassonne, to go through the 2018 tournament unbeaten – but they were made to fight all the way as Scotland put in their best performance.
Wigan full back, Morgan Escare, with two tries and a perfect six goals, led the way for the hosts, but they were never allowed to settle with the Bravehearts living up to their name.
“I’m very happy with that,” said France coach Aurelien Cologni. “It’s a young team and we faced sides with a lot of passion. We have qualified for the World Cup and picked up a trophy, and the players want to win more.”
“We have a big group of about 30 we can call on,” he added, “and now we need to look forward and improve the level further.”
Despite the Scots calling on four debutants, including student stalwarts Matt Hogg – who was calm and composed throughout,- and Dan Turland, they were combative from the off, led by skipper Oliver Wilkes on his 500th career appearance.
Scotland joint head coach, Chris Chester, whose side now face a final World Cup qualifier in 2019, was immensely proud that his fledgling charges had handled the occasion so well.
“They’ll learn from that experience,” he said. “We’ve got to try and keep as many of these guys together as we can and make sure our preparation is right next year. We should have a bit more quality available because it’s really important we get to the World Cup.”
In the curtain raiser, France’s women defeated Italy 60-0.
FRANCE 28 : Morgan Escare, Paul Marcon, Bastien Ader, Hakim Miloudi, Gavin Marguerite, Sebastien Robin, Theo Fages, Romain Navarette, Alrix da Costa, Lambert Belmas, Rhys Curran, Benjamin Jullien, Mickael Goudemand. Substitutes: Anthony Marion, Bastien Canet, Valentin Yesa, Lucas Albert. Tries: Fages (19), Escare (31, 56), Marion (65). Goals: Escare 6/6.
SCOTLAND 10 : Oscar Thomas, Davey Dixon, David Scott, Craig Robertson, Niall Sidney, Matt Hogg, Ryan Brierley, Joe McClean, Kane Bentley, Oliver Wilkes, Nick Glohe, Frankie Mariano, James Bel. Substitutes: Lewis Clarke, Dan Turland, Hamish Bentley, Kieran Moran. Tries: Dixon (26), Robertson (73. Goals: Brierley 0/1, Thomas 1/1
Half time: 14-4. Referee: Greg Dolan (England). Penalty count: 12-13
Man of the match: Morgan Escare