A France side packed with Super League players got off to a flier against a far less experienced Scotland side. They thought they had scored on just three minutes when winger Cyril Stacul went over but was adjudged to have been held up and Harlequins hooker Julien Rinaldi suffered the same fate six minutes later. They did make the breakthrough on 10 minutes when France skipper Rinaldi scored from a pass on the run by Catalans’ prop Adel Fellous, converted by Max Gresque. It was 12-0 on 13 minutes when Guisset converted a try in the left corner by Stacul.
Scotland were up against it even more when Scotland sub Iain Marsh was sin-binned for a high forearm and the 6,000 crowd which almost filled the Stade Gilbert Brutus, home of Super League’s Catalans Dragons, could smell an early kill. Indeed it was 18-0 on 20 minutes when Carcassonne stand-off Christophe Moly and Gresque combined to send Toulouse winger Sebastien Planas over, converted by Gresque.
Scotland, wearing white shirts and navy shorts, thankfully got a foothold in the game on 27 minutes when Featherstone’s Jamie Benn, playing on the wing, scored, but S4 was unable to convert.
But France took control from the restart, putting Scotland under great pressure before scoring the try of the night. Five metres out the ball passed through several pairs of French hands before former London Broncos and Wakefield centre Sylvain Houles scored in the left corner, converted superbly by Gresque.
It was game over two minutes before the break: the ball moved swiftly from Guisset to full-bacdk Bosc to Rinaldi for Eric Anselme to break away straight down the middle of the field to score. Gresque converted yet again to make it 30-4.
Scotland started the second half well with a fantastic try by Mick Nanyn, the bulky centre running 40 metres down the right centre channel to score after a bustling run by stand-off Lee Paterson. Nanyn himself converted from 10 metres in from touch.
Alex Szostak was held up over the line before, on the hour, debutants Mark Slatter and Lee Paterson combined down the left for Paterson to score a wonderful try in the corner, converted by Nanyn to give Scotland a chance at 30-16 but they had to score next.
Instead, three minutes later Anselme slipped out of Kevin Henderson’s tackle and offloaded 20 metres out for Bosc to score under the posts.
With ten minutes left Wade Liddell made a 40 metre one-man attack after intercepting a pass and charging two tackles only to see Alex Szostak fumble Liddell’s pass and Gresque race 70 metres to the other end to score for France.
James Wynne had a try disallowed for France on 75 minutes for a double movement as the home side turned on the flair and, with two minutes left, Christophe Moly scored the final try for France, converted by Gresque.
Scotland: Wade Liddell (Brisbane Easts Tigers), Jamie Benn (Featherstone Rovers), Kevin Henderson (Wakefield Trinity), Mick Nanyn (Oldham), Andy Todd (Edinburgh Eagles), Lee Paterson (Toulouse Olympique), Richie Hawkyard (Swinton Lions), Duncan MacGillivray (Wakefield Trinity), Ben Fisher (Hull KR), Jack Howieson (Sheffield Eagle), Iain Morrison (Hull KR), David Lynn (Edinburgh Eagles), Richard Fletcher (Whitehaven).
Subs: Mark Slatter (Hillsborough Hawks), Dave McConnell (Leigh Centurions), Alex Szostak (Bradford Bulls), Iain Marsh (Rochdale Hornets).
Tries: Benn 27, Nanyn 44, Paterson 60.
Goal: Nanyn 2.
France: Thomas Bosc (Catalans), Justin Murphy (Catalans), Sebastien Planas (Toulouse), Sylvain Houles (Toulouse), Cyril Stacul (Catalans), Christophe Moly (Carcassonne), Maxime Gresque (Pia), David Ferriol (Catalans), Julien Rinaldi (Harlequins), Adel Fellous (Catalans), Oliveir Elima (Catalans), Eric Anselme (Albi), Laurent Carrasco (Villenueve). Subs: Raguin, Borlin, Sadaoui, Wynne.
Tries: Rinaldi 10, Stacul 13, Planas 20, Houles 34, Anselme 38, Bosc 63, Gresque 70, Moly 78.
Goals: Gresque 7.