Huw Jones confident Scotland can still win Six Nations despite France defeat
Bullish Huw Jones is adamant Scotland are still very much alive and kicking in the battle for the Guinness Six Nations title despite returning from Paris with nothing to show for their spirited performance.
The Scots roared back from 19-0 down to get within four points of France going into the closing stages, but the hosts scored a late try to secure a 32-21 victory and ensure the visitors were denied a bonus point.
Gregor Townsend’s side are second in the table and must overturn a five-point deficit and an inferior points difference if they are to get ahead of championship leaders and top-ranked side in the world Ireland, who they welcome to BT Murrayfield in their next match before then hosting Italy.
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“It was tough to see France go over the line right at the end and miss out on the losing bonus point but we’re still in it with two games at home to play,” said centre Jones.
“We back ourselves against anybody in this championship, but especially at home.
“We’ve got a good record at Murrayfield, we make it tough for anyone who comes there, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to and a lot of positives to take from the France game.
“We’ve improved a lot but we’ve still not hit our peak so hopefully over the next two weeks we can get there and put out an 80-minute performance.”
We back ourselves against anybody in this championship, but especially at home.
Jones feels Scotland – who won their first two games against England and Wales – are coming to the boil nicely ahead of their potentially pivotal showdown with the Irish.
“We’ve improved game by game in the tournament,” he said. “Despite the loss against France, I think that was our best all-round performance.
“We’re just looking to improve week by week and our next game’s at home against Ireland, another top-two team in the world, but like against France when we thought we could have come away with the win, we’ll back ourselves to win in two weeks. We’ll go into that game with confidence.”
Jones scored two of Scotland’s three tries at Stade de France but was “disappointed and frustrated” that they ultimately counted for nothing.
“As a back, it’s always nice to score tries because that’s your job but it would have been nice to score another one and win the game,” he said.
“I felt like we were in the ascendancy. We were playing a lot of good rugby. After Finn Russell’s try (which made it 25-21 to France), we just needed to get down their end again but a couple of mistakes here and there and the last five minutes we were sitting on our line rather than their line.
“We had a plan to attack and we did that a lot but we missed a couple of opportunities.
“I just wish we were on the right side of the score, but there were a lot of positives to take.”