France v Scotland in Paris The Auld Alliance

There is something special about Paris in the winter, the moment you step off the train at Gare du Nord, the smell of coffee hits your nostrils, the  dark misty grey gloom  lit up by the neon lights of the cafes and bars in rue dunkerque.

Paris does the cold dark miserable season like no other city, with its inimitable style and class.


The same is true when it comes to rugby

Sunday six nations games are the poisoned chalice  for travelling fans and indeed most home supporters.

Parisians however could not have been happier with the timing of Sunday’s clash at the Stade de France 

A 4pm kick off meant not only time for a leisurely morning coffee and croissant with L’equipe, but also time for a decent lunch before heading to Saint-Denis

Now France and Scotland have a very special bond, in 1942 Charles DeGaulle described it as the oldest alliance in the world

“In every combat for five centuries when the destiny of France was at stake, there were always men of Scotland to fight by the side of the men of France, and what Frenchmen feel is that no people has ever been more generous with its friendship”

The auld alliance with France was first agreed in 1295 built on France’ need to curtail English expansion.

The canny Scots were given the pick of the best French wines as a result of this accord.

There was no sign of the  auld alliance in Paris yesterday, the scots may have fought with Joan of arc at the battle of Orleans, but watching Guirado hit Josh Strauss underlined that friendships were on hold for at least eighty minutes.

Under grey sleety skies the anthem roared and France got off to a flying start, the French pack were brutal from first to last, the old boys in the bars of Beziers, Agen and Pau would have felt a warm glow as the huge French pack set about demolishing Scotland’s scrum, it was just like the old days.

A 16th minute try from Hogg gave Scotland belief,  but then after 30 minutes  a Gael blew in, Fickou to be precise but the floodgates never opened.

The second half began with the backdrop of blues skies ,the first glimpse of sunshine all week as Scotland scored a try through Swinson after 43 mins.

Picamoles, King Louis VIII,  reigned in his men and he and captain fantastic Guirado threw themselves at everything.

Injuries ravaged Scotland, but France were too powerful, the kilted warriors dug in and the score was 16-16 with ten minutes to go

In the end two Lopez penalties in the 71st and 76th minute were the difference and another magnificent 6 nations match was done and dusted 


This years tournament has been pretty special so far and it’s only the second weekend.

So as the auld alliance re constitutes this morning we take a weeks break before we go through all those emotions yet again.


As I say goodbye to Paris the sunshine and the blue skies at Gare du Nord have replaced the sleet and darkness which greeted my arrival.

See you soon Paris

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