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France credit World Cup for tough win

Published: 12:47PM Monday February 27, 2012 Source: Reuters

France showed great character to overturn a 10-point deficit and beat Scotland 23-17 in a lively Six Nations match at Murrayfield, manager Philippe Saint Andre said today.

France got off to a sluggish start and quickly trailed 10-0, but the visitors relied on the power of their pack and defence to gain the upper hand and stay on course for a grand slam.

"I played in Scotland, I lost a match after we had burst like pop corn and we never came back into the game," Saint Andre told a news conference.

"Today I saw a real squad. Coming back from 10-0 down in a full stadium, without panicking, it proves that this squad has guts."

Les Bleus expected Scotland to come out with all guns blazing and that is exactly what happened at a packed Murrayfield stadium.

"We did not panic and we stuck together," wing Julien Malzieu told reporters.

"This squad has a lot of experience. It comes from the World Cup," added Malzieu, one of only three players with Yoann Maestri and try scorer Wesley

Fofana who was not part of the squad which reached last year's World Cup final.

"In this team, there are players who have the experience of high level matches and played a World Cup final. They communicate their confidence to the others."

Saint Andre added even more experience in the second half as lock Lionel Nallet and hook William Servat came on as replacements.

"The substitutions gave us energy and experience," said Saint Andre.

"We built this character during the World Cup. We had tough games there and we now know how to play these games," said scrumhalf Morgan Parra, who kicked 10 of France's points.

France will now face Ireland at home next Monday (NZT) before entertaining England the following weekend and travelling to Wales for a possible grand slam decider.

"It will be three out-of-category climbs," Saint Andre said.

But fullback Maxime Medard is a serious doubt for the game because of a knee injury, coach Saint-Andre said.

Medard scored a try but was replaced in the second half.

"It is the only bad piece of news today," Saint-Andre told reporters.

"We are awaiting the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan results before making a decision. We will have to replace him, that's sure," he added.

Saint-Andre is due to unveil his squad on tomorrow for the Ireland fixture.