Ireland bounced back from last week's dismal defeat to England with a much-improved display and a 22-17 win in Wales in their latest Rugby World Cup warm-up.

Jacob Stockdale scored twice in the first half to secure bragging rights for the Irish in the first match of a double-header between the sides across consecutive weekends.

The display was extremely encouraging considering what had gone before for Joe Schmidt's side, although they were kept off the top of the rankings, having needed a 15-point victory against the world's number one side.

A late flourish from Wales in Warren Gatland's final home match could not quite complete a comeback.

Ireland's improvement was evident from the off and Jack Carty kicked the game's first points after nine minutes, although Jarrod Evans - making his first Test start - levelled the scores for Wales with a penalty in front of the posts.

Opportunities in open play were initially few and far between until a glorious weaving run from Andrew Conway created the opening try.

The winger raced away from three challenges and then unselfishly passed to Stockdale on the left to dash through.

And Stockdale had his second before the break as he preyed on a loose Wales pass and toed the ball clear of the recovering red shirts to dart across the line.

Wales enjoyed a better spell immediately after half-time but were soon on the back foot again and saw Leon Brown sent to the sin bin following a collapsed scrum as Ireland piled on the pressure.

A blatant forward pass denied Conway a try on the right, yet there was no let-up and Rory Best helped drive Wales back to secure a penalty try following a series of re-set scrums.

The home side belatedly got a breakthrough try with some lovely footwork from Owen Lane, with Ireland then suddenly hanging on as Elliot Dee lunged just short of the try-line.

Bundee Aki's challenge on an airborne James Davies meant Garry Ringrose's counter-attacking score was struck off, and Rhys Patchell's impressive late try could not rescue a Welsh result.

France gave coach Jacques Brunel plenty of food for thought ahead of the Rugby World Cup as they thumped Italy 47-19 in Paris on Friday.

A seven-try show from the home side masked disappointing spells in the game for France, who do not yet look like a side that could challenge for glory at the global tournament in Japan.

Brunel's starting XV for the Stade de France clash showed nine changes in personnel from the side beaten in their previous game by Scotland, as they chased an eighth straight win in their rivalry with Italy.

Maxime Medard fed Yoann Huget to score France's opening try in just the third minute, but Les Bleus put themselves in trouble when they lost their early composure and had both Louis Picamoles and Rabah Slimani sin-binned in quick succession.

Mattia Bellini crossed as Italy took advantage, and Tommaso Allan added the extras to put the visitors in front, albeit still early in the contest.

Italy were the next to be penalised, with Bellini yellow-carded for hauling down Huget off the ball. France were handed a penalty try, and it was briefly a game of 13 players against 14.

Camille Chat grounded the ball for another France try shortly after the half-hour mark, and they led 19-7 at half-time.

Scrum-half Antoine Dupont was next to cross, threading his way through to the line, and France were rampant early in the second half as Arthur Iturria barrelled over for another, his first for the team.

Jake Polledri replied for Italy only for Wenceslas Lauret to counter for France as the tries kept coming, the hosts going 40-14 up by the hour.

Bellini narrowed the gap, but it was France's night and their seventh and final try arrived when Thomas Ramos spotted a gap and darted through from a central position before diving over in the left corner.

France begin their World Cup campaign with a tricky test against Argentina on September 21. Italy, meanwhile, start against Namibia a day later.

Wales' Josh Navidi has vowed to embrace the captaincy role against Ireland on Saturday having been handed the chance to lead his country for the first time.

Ireland visit the Principality Stadium for Wales' final match on home soil before the Rugby World Cup, with head coach Warren Gatland ringing the changes.

He announced 14 alterations to his starting XV following the victory over England, with Navidi one of those coming into the team.

It caps a fine rise for the Cardiff Blues back-rower, who has only played 17 times for his country.

"It is a massive honour. I've had loads of messages from people, which is nice. My family are ecstatic as well, and it will be nice to lead the team out," Navidi said on Friday.

"Gats [Gatland] came up to me after a units session and asked me would I like to lead the team. It's something you can't turn down, really.

"I will try and keep the emotions down. It's another game of rugby, but obviously nice to lead the team out, embrace the moment and then get into it.

"I am not much of a talker, to be honest. Hopefully, I can lead from the front, and everyone else will follow.

"As a youngster I captained Bridgend Athletic, and my school. I have done it a bit with the Blues over the years too.

"Alun Wyn [Jones], I have played quite a lot with him recently, and obviously Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees at the Blues, and it's little things you pick up on through them. It just brings your game forward, and hopefully I can pass it on to others.

"But to be honest, I have never thought about it [being captain], with the leaders in the group with Wales.

"You have got Alun Wyn, Ken Owens and Jonathan Davies, who are massive figures in the team, and it's something that I've never thought I would come across - I thought just getting the red jersey is enough - so it will be nice."

Wales will face Ireland again on September 7 in Dublin for their final pre-World Cup warm-up.

Their campaign begins 16 days later, against Georgia in Toyota City.

South Africa wing Aphiwe Dyantyi is facing a long-term suspension after being formally charged with a doping violation.

Dyantyi, who last week denied taking any prohibited substances, was provisionally banned after returning an adverse finding in a test at a Springboks training on July 2 and requested for his B-sample to be tested.

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) said on Friday the B-sample indicated the presence of the same three banned anabolic steroids and metabolites: metandienone, methyltestosterone and LGD-4033.

The 25-year-old has the right to contest the charge in front of an independent disciplinary panel.

If found to have breached anti-doping regulations, the 2018 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year could receive a four-year ban.

Speaking last week, Dyantyi maintained his innocence after being made aware of the initial test results.

"I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently, to enhance my performance on the field. I believe in hard work and fair play," he said in a statement.

"I have never cheated and never will. The presence of this prohibited substance in my body has come as a massive shock to me and together with my management team and experts appointed by them, we are doing everything we can to get to the source of this and to prove my innocence."

Dyantyi has played 13 Tests for South Africa since making his debut against England at Ellis Park in June 2018 but was not included in the Rugby World Cup squad.

Warren Gatland has urged his Wales players to prove their Rugby World Cup credentials against Ireland and highlighted a shoot-out for the fly-half position.

Wales have made 14 changes for their warm-up fixture against Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, with Jarrod Evans getting the nod at number 10 and Rhys Patchell among the replacements.

Owen Lane and Rhys Carre will make their Test debuts as Josh Navidi captains the side in their final match before Gatland names his 31-man squad for the tournament in Japan.

James Davies is the only survivor from the team that beat England 13-6 on August 17, while Ireland come into the game following a 57-15 thrashing at the hands of Eddie Jones' side at Twickenham on Saturday.

"There are a number of positions still up for grabs. Players are well aware of how important this game is and the opportunity they have," said Gatland.

"They're under pressure after last week's performance so it's a great challenge for us.

"They're coming here knowing they've been criticised, they'll be hurting. I couldn't ask for a better game for this group of players."

On the race to compete with Dan Biggar for the fly-half position at the World Cup, Gatland added: "Jarrod gets an opportunity. We know a little bit more about Rhys Patchell, so the pressure is on him [Evans] and he understands that fully.

"It's about coming out, starting a game and controlling a game. Rhys will get the second half and it's about him coming on and making an impression.

"The two of them are aware they'll get the chance and it's probably a shoot-out between the two of them."

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has also rung the changes for the meeting in Cardiff, with Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony, Jacob Stockdale and Bundee Aki the only players to retain their spot.

Niall Scannell comes in for captain Rory Best, who is named among the replacements, while Johnny Sexton, Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw miss out again.

 

Wales: Hallam Amos, Owen Lane, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans, Jarrod Evans, Aled Davies; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Jake Ball, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Jonah Holmes.

Ireland: Will Addison, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Rory Best, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Garry Ringrose, Dave Kearney.

Rugby World Cup hosts Japan have named their squad for the tournament, with veteran Hiroshi Yamashita missing out but uncapped Takuya Kitade included.

Jamie Joseph announced his 31-man group for the finals on Thursday and included a number of stars of the 2015 World Cup under former boss Eddie Jones, though Yamashita was not among them.

The 33-year-old prop was one of 10 players cut from a 41-man training squad.

Yamashita went to the last World Cup in England, although he did not make it off the bench to take part in Japan's historic defeat of South Africa.

There are several familiar faces in Joseph's final list, though, with Michael Leitch again captaining the side.

Hooker Kitade is also selected, along with Pieter Labuschagne and James Moore, who are both relatively new to the squad having secured eligibility in June.

Japan play Russia in the opening game of this year's edition of the competition, on September 20. Ireland, Scotland and Samoa make up the rest of Pool A.

 

Japan's 31-man Rugby World Cup squad in full:

Forwards: Keita Inagaki, Yusuke Kizu, Jiwon Koo, Isileli Nakajima, Asaeli Ai Valu, Takuya Kitade, Atsushi Sakate, Shota Horie, Luke Thompson, Wimpie van der Walt, Uwe Helu, James Moore, Hendrik Tui, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne, Kazuki Himeno, Amanaki Lelei Mafi.

Backs: Kaito Shigeno, Fumiaki Tanaka, Yutaka Nagare, Yu Tamura, Rikiya Matsuda, Kenki Fukuoka, Ataata Moeakiola, Lomano Lava Lemeki, William Tupou, Ryoto Nakamura, Timothy Lafaele, Kotaro Matsushima, Ryohei Yamanaka.

Brian O'Driscoll is concerned by Ireland's form a month out from the Rugby World Cup but believes they can swiftly turn their fortunes around.

Ireland were the dominant team in world rugby in 2018, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam and defeating world champions New Zealand.

But this year has been a different story, with a humbling 57-15 reverse to England in Saturday's World Cup warm-up at Twickenham providing cause for concern.

Yet former Ireland star O'Driscoll is backing Joe Schmidt's men to respond, potentially starting with back-to-back fixtures against Wales before the tournament in Japan.

"It's concerning in that you would prefer to be playing with huge confidence," O'Driscoll, a Land Rover ambassador, told Omnisport.

"In the first warm-up games, you have a stuffy victory against Italy and then a resounding defeat to England, who just looked like a completely different level.

"Of course, I'd be concerned that the confidence appears to have taken a dent and you want to go in [to the World Cup] feeling as though you can play your best rugby or you have your best rugby in close parameters to where you're at. That doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

"But sport can be fickle and it can turn around very, very quickly as well. We saw the All Blacks beaten badly by Australia and coming around the following week and hammering them at home, nilling them. You can turn it around.

"What I'm sure will disappoint Joe Schmidt the most is that the lads just didn't seem like the same accuracy and same levels expected of them were delivered at the weekend.

"But they have a chance this weekend of putting that right. That's the beauty of having a game the following week after a big defeat."

If Ireland can rediscover some confidence, O'Driscoll suggests recent results should not quell optimism ahead of the World Cup.

"It's happened with New Zealand for a number of World Cups, where they've peaked in between and not quite been able to manage it on the biggest stage," he said.

"That's the question with Ireland now, they've not quite delivered at a World Cup level. But that doesn't mean this time [they] can't turn that around.

"It's not ideal preparation so far, but the way the group works, playing Scotland and Japan - they're capable of winning both of those games and also the two other games [against Russia and Samoa].

"Finish top of the group and you have the game of your life against New Zealand or South Africa - win that and you're in a semi-final.

"That really simplifies it, but any team will tell you, get to a semi-final and of course you're capable of winning a World Cup. You're one game away from playing in a World Cup final."

 

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Jamie Heaslip is confident Rory Best is the right man to lead Ireland and will prove his worth as the pressure builds heading into the Rugby World Cup.

Captain Best's role has come under scrutiny this year as Ireland have failed to build on an outstanding 2018 in which they won the Six Nations Grand Slam and then defeated world champions New Zealand.

Joe Schmidt's men finished third in the 2019 Six Nations and then, in last week's World Cup warm-up, crashed to a record loss against England.

But 95-cap former Ireland international Heaslip, who played with Best, is confident the skipper will take the right approach following that reverse, calmly rallying the side as they face Wales in consecutive weeks before travelling to the tournament in Japan.

Best has confirmed he will retire from professional rugby following the World Cup.

"Rory's come in for a lot of criticism, particularly over the last week," Heaslip, a Land Rover ambassador, told Omnisport.

"But you look back at his tenure now – I think it's three years he's been captain – and the success of that team while he's been at the helm.

"Ireland have beaten every Tier 1 nation in the last two years. That type of consistency shows the leadership he's obviously showing day in day out in that camp.

"He would have been disappointed with his own performance last week and will be very eager to get another opportunity – just like every other player in that matchday squad from last week – to showcase what he can do on the field.

"And I would imagine his leadership qualities are coming out in full force this week, in terms of being up against it and the performance not being good enough.

"They were exploited by the other team, the pressure is starting to pile up, and it takes a really calm, level-headed person – just like Rory is – to this week get the players together and focus on the new task.

"He will captain them in that way. That's where Rory will show his real value to the team."

Heaslip is not overly concerned by the team's form either, with the exception of a "one-off" against England, and believes performance levels are not too far from where they were last year.

"I think they're in the exact same position [as in 2018], if I'm honest," he said. "Less than 12 months ago, everyone was saying these guys were going to win the World Cup after beating New Zealand.

"If you actually look at the games, the margin of winning and losing is so fine.

"You look at the first game of 2018, straight out of the gate, they don't score any tries, kick all the points, France score a try against them, and if it wasn't for a 41-phase drop goal effort from the halfway line – you couldn't write this stuff – they don't win the Six Nations, they don't win the Grand Slam.

"In 2019, you could say the same thing where the margin for the opposition to win the game is not that big. The margin for losing at international level is so fine.

"I think Ireland have actually been very consistent over the last 18 months, two years, the past World Cup cycle even. I think they're in exactly the same position. They're a bloody good team."

 

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Sam Skinner will miss the Rugby World Cup following a hamstring injury, with Scotland calling up Tim Swinson to train with the squad.

Skinner sustained the issue in Saturday's 17-14 win over France at Murrayfield as Scotland continued their preparations before heading to Japan.

Scans later the same day revealed an injury and projected recovery time meaning he would be unable "to play a meaningful part" at the World Cup, Scotland revealed on Tuesday.

Glasgow Warriors forward Swinson, who has 38 caps for his country, will provide training cover in Skinner's absence.

Tommy Seymour and Blade Thomson were also forced off in Scotland's victory at the weekend.

Eben Etzebeth was included in South Africa's Rugby World Cup squad on Monday after denying physical or racial abuse in an alleged incident in Langebaan.

The Springbok group was cut from 32 players to 31 for the upcoming finals and the squad reveal had threatened to be marred by social media allegations of an incident involving the lock.

However, responding to the reports, Etzebeth provided a categorical denial - and the South African Rugby United (SARU) insisted it will stand by its man unless further informed by authorities.

"It is completely untrue and unfounded to claim that I physically or racially abused anyone in Langebaan as has been reported on social media," he posted on Facebook. "Multiple witnesses can corroborate that.

"I am and will always strive to be a true ambassador to this beautiful rainbow nation and the sport that I love."

A SARU statement read: "The South African Rugby Union is a law-abiding member of South African society and has no tolerance of acts of violence or racial abuse.

"We will co-operate with the authorities in any way necessary. Our Rugby World Cup squad will have no place for anyone who transgresses those principles.

"But we also trust our people to act responsibly and tell the truth. We have spoken to Eben and he categorically denies any physical or racial abuse on his part as has been alleged in social media.

"He is a member of the Springbok squad and will remain so unless police authorities require our reconsideration."

Erasmus said: "I am very happy with the squad we have been able to select. We have been developing this squad since the start of last season and, in the 31, we have a good balance of established experience and some exciting youth.

"We set out with the goal of growing the depth of the squad and I am confident that any of this 31 can step into a play-off match at the Rugby World Cup and deliver an outstanding performance."

Rugby Championship winners South Africa begin their World Cup campaign against defending champions New Zealand in Pool B on September 21.

 

South Africa squad in full:

Forwards: Schalk Brits, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Duane Vermeulen.

Backs: Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Warrick Gelant, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, S'bu Nkosi, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Frans Steyn.

Eddie Jones is hopeful England prop Mako Vunipola did not suffer a serious injury setback when his return to action was cut short against Ireland.

The Saracens front row was ruled out for three months with a hamstring problem in May, meaning he was playing for the first time since the injury on Saturday, a matter of weeks before the Rugby World Cup.

But Vunipola failed to finish the game after coming on as a replacement, prompting fears of a major issue ahead of the tournament in Japan.

Coach Jones was unsure of the extent of the problem but stayed optimistic after an impressive 57-15 win at Twickenham.

"He just felt his hamstring a little bit," Jones told Sky Sports. "We're not sure how serious it is. We're cautiously optimistic he'll be okay."

There was a moment of concern for Ireland, too, with Cian Healy hobbling off shortly before half-time after receiving treatment for an ankle problem.

And there was also a head injury assessment (HIA) for Conor Murray, who briefly came back on before being withdrawn.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was positive, though, saying: "Conor passed his HIA, he was fine.

"We had a bit of a breakdown in communication - I wasn't going to put him back on, so that was a slip-up on our behalf and we got him off.

"Cian's had an x-ray and the ankle is normal. He sprained it and was pretty uncomfortable. The good news is he did walk from the pitch, so hopefully that's a little bit of promise for us."

Rory Best admitted Ireland are "nowhere near" where they need to be just a month out from the Rugby World Cup after a humiliating defeat to England.

Ireland were subjected to a record defeat against England at Twickenham, Manu Tuilagi and Maro Itoje running the show while Joe Cokanasiga scored twice in a 57-15 home win.

The visitors had the opportunity to move to the top of the world rankings with victory but instead go into next week's match with number one side Wales reeling from an awful defeat.

Ireland were extremely sloppy, with their lineouts woeful, and captain Best acknowledged the need for considerable improvement in the coming weeks.

"We can be a lot better and we have to be a lot better," he told Sky Sports. "That is not up to the standard that we set ourselves.

"Quite frankly, it is hard to describe it without using a lot of profanity. We're going to have a look back at what went wrong. It will not be pleasant, but we're going to have to get better.

"We're nowhere near where we need to be and the only positive we can take from it is that it's the middle of August and not the middle of September. We need to improve significantly across the board."

Owen Farrell was understandably more upbeat about England's display – but promised there is still more to come ahead of the tournament in Japan.

He told Sky Sports: "We are still building. I think there is a lot left in us.

"We are still looking forward to playing our best rugby. That, for me, is very exciting.

"We are building. The most exciting thing is that we have got a lot of good rugby in front of us, hopefully, and we've got to make sure it keeps going that way."

England produced a stylish display to secure a record-breaking 57-15 home win over Ireland in their latest Rugby World Cup warm-up match, denying the visitors a place as world number one.

For the third consecutive week, England approached a warm-up knowing their opponents could move to the top of the rankings but, after beating and then losing to Wales, they ensured the Grand Slam champions remained at the summit by routing the Irish.

The second Wales match saw just a single try scored between the two sides, yet there were a pair inside 13 minutes of an entertaining and ultimately one-sided affair at Twickenham on Saturday.

England moved out of sight late in the first half, with Manu Tuilagi influential, and ran riot after the break to record their biggest score and margin of victory against Ireland.

Joe Schmidt's men have the opportunity to bounce back quickly against Wales next week but, in the meantime, the coach will hope for positive news on Cian Healy, who hobbled off late in the first half.

Mako Vunipola's withdrawal in the final minutes was similarly concerning for England.

Owen Farrell dispatched the game's first penalty in the seventh minute, having reclaimed kicking duties from George Ford, yet there was a setback before England clicked into gear.

Jacob Stockdale dashed through on the left but his chip down the line instead teed Jordan Larmour up for a simple try, the bounce evading recovering white shirts.

However, a superb move from left to right created space for Joe Cokanasiga to get in for an impressive response.

Ireland briefly led again with a sweet 35-metre penalty from Ross Byrne, but another sweeping passage of play, after Tuilagi drew attention in the centre of the field, saw Elliot Daly saunter over in the same right corner.

Tuilagi scored himself to further stretch England's advantage before half-time, exploiting a gap after a scrum at close range, before a fine home display continued into the second half and Maro Itoje, another impressive performer, tore a hole in the Ireland side after their latest poor lineout.

Ireland tired badly and there was no stopping the hosts, with George Kruis - later yellow-carded for a high challenge - profiting from a TMO review and then Kyle Sinckler and Sam Underhill combining beautifully for Tom Curry to score.

Cokanasiga continued his prolific start to life in England colours with a powerful second try, with Bundee Aki's late reply followed by further humiliation as Luke Cowan-Dickie lunged over directly from another lineout.

England produced a stylish display to secure a record-breaking 57-15 home win over Ireland in their latest Rugby World Cup warm-up match, denying the visitors a place as world number one.

For the third consecutive week, England approached a warm-up knowing their opponents could move to the top of the rankings but, after beating and then losing to Wales, they ensured the Grand Slam champions remained at the summit by routing the Irish.

The second Wales match saw just a single try scored between the two sides, yet there were a pair inside 13 minutes of an entertaining and ultimately one-sided affair at Twickenham on Saturday.

England moved out of sight late in the first half, with Manu Tuilagi influential, and ran riot after the break to record their biggest score and margin of victory against Ireland.

Joe Schmidt's men have the opportunity to bounce back quickly against Wales next week but, in the meantime, the coach will hope for positive news on Cian Healy, who hobbled off late in the first half.

Mako Vunipola's withdrawal in the final minutes was similarly concerning for England.

Owen Farrell dispatched the game's first penalty in the seventh minute, having reclaimed kicking duties from George Ford, yet there was a setback before England clicked into gear.

Jacob Stockdale dashed through on the left but his chip down the line instead teed Jordan Larmour up for a simple try, the bounce evading recovering white shirts, and Ross Byrne added the extras.

However, a superb move from left to right created space for Joe Cokanasiga to get in for an impressive response.

Ireland briefly led again with a sweet 35-metre penalty from Byrne, but another sweeping passage of play, after Tuilagi drew attention in the centre of the field, saw Elliot Daly saunter over in the same right corner.

Tuilagi scored himself to further stretch England's advantage before half-time, exploiting a gap after a scrum at close range, before a fine England display continued into the second half and Maro Itoje, another impressive performer, tore a hole in the Ireland side after their latest poor lineout.

Ireland tired badly and there was no stopping the hosts, with George Kruis - later yellow-carded for a high challenge - profiting from a TMO review and then Kyle Sinckler and Sam Underhill combining beautifully for Tom Curry to score.

Cokanasiga continued his prolific start to life in England colours with a powerful second try, with Bundee Aki's late reply followed by further humiliation as Luke Cowan-Dickie lunged over directly from another lineout.

Scotland gained a measure of revenge over France by fighting back to win 17-14 at a sold out Twickenham, but there are injury concerns for Gregor Townsend ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Les Bleus hammered their Six Nations rivals 32-3 in Nice last weekend, but squandered an 11-point lead to suffer a defeat four weeks before the World Cup starts in Japan.

Lock Sam Skinner, wing Tommy Seymour and debutant back-row Blade Thomson came off with injuries in a much improved display from Scotland and Townsend will be hoping for positive news on the trio.

Damian Penaud scored a first-half double, but Sean Maitland's converted try and a Greig Laidlaw penalty reduced the deficit to four points at half-time.

Chris Harris charged over for the only try of the second half and France were unable to respond as Scotland made amends for a drubbing a week earlier.

Peter Horne gifted France an early try with a stray pass which the alert Penaud intercepted and darted away to touch down and the wing added another after Laidlaw's penalty had Scotland on the board.

Influential fly-half Finn Russell got Scotland ticking and set up Maitland for Scotland's opening try with a long, inviting pass just before the break.

Thomson went off after taking a bang to the head and Seymour also underwent a head injury assessment before centre Harris crashed over following bulldozing work from the forwards, with Laidlaw adding the extras.

Scotland saw out the victory, but the sight of Skinner being helped off would have been alarming for head coach Townsend.

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