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Battered and Bleused; SIX NATIONS SCOTS BACK TO DRAWING BOARD DRAWING; Painful in Paris but Seymour insists Scotland are still going in right direction.

Byline: GORDON PARKS IN PARIS

FRANCE..27 SCOTLAND..10

TOMMY SEYMOUR insists Scotland aren't taking one step forward and two steps back under boss Gregor Townsend.

The Dark Blues wing believes the huge frustration after defeat to France is proof progress is being made by a side now facing up to a Six Nations campaign of damage limitation.

A Championship opening-day win against whipping boys Italy has been followed by losses to Ireland and Les Bleus in Paris.

Townsend steered his team to three wins in last season's tournament which now appears doubtful of being repeated with Wales up next before a trip to England and Twickenham.

But Saturday's success for the French gave Scotland a sense they had left the Stade de France with a scoreline that could have been far more humiliating as Jacques Brunel's side had three tries ruled out for a range of infringements.

Seymour is adamant it's too harsh to suggest the side are back to square one since Townsend replaced Vern Cotter.

H e said: "I wouldn't be as harsh as that. That would be doing us a bit of a disservice. We're frustrated on the basis that we have made progress - but ultimately not managed to get the result.

"I don't think we go back to the drawing board and say everything needs to change, that everything we've achieved, every bit of progress over the last few years is now obsolete.

"I don't think that at all. I just think we've got to be better."

Scotland only had a late Ali Price try, converted by Adam Hastings, and a Greig Laidlaw penalty to show for their endeavours.

Gregory Alldritt's double and Romain Ntamack and Yoann Huget scores did the damage in a game that had the Scots littering their display with errors. It ensured a 20-year wait for a win in Paris continues and as the catalogue of failures on the road mount up but Seymour reckons fear on their travels is not a factor.

He said: "I wouldn't call it fear. I don't think there is a fear that boys have.

"I may be speaking for myself but I don't believe there's any fear in going away and playing rugby.

"For whatever reason it's a hurdle we need to get over. We're desperate to do that.

"The frustration is we believe in our preparation, that we're in a good place, our knowledge and role clarity is where it should be.

"But yet again we've let an opportunity pass us by.

"It's something we're desperate to correct.

"The next chance will be England away, another massive opportunity to correct it. But the focus is on Wales first."

In mitigation Townsend was robbed of a host of his star men with the likes of Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Huw Jones and WP Nel out.

But against the French there were very few pass mark performers.

This latest setback isn't one which Seymour believes should signal a change of direction or press the panic button by going back to the drawing board.

He said: "You have suggestions? No, it's one of the worst things you can do, to stray away from your practices and try to do something dramatic, last minute.

"To be honest we were in a good spot. It quite clearly didn't translate on to the park.

"But with regards to the build-up, the preparation, the travel and everything, it was all spot on.

"It's just disappointing. These conversations are unfortunately part of being a rugby player - and they're disappointing when you have to have them. I'm just absolutely gutted."

The task now is to try to finish the Six Nations with something positive to bolster spirits to carry in to Japan when the World Cup gets underway later this year.

Paris was supposed to be the time that a French side - being described as a disorganised shambles - would be there for the taking after a dismal run of results which had public and media turning against them.

Seymour knows the scrutiny and criticism will now come Scotland's way with an opportunity to bounce back in a fortnight.

He said: "After this it's our turn to take a bit of that. We react within our group and our coaching staff, put one foot in front of the other and concentrate on the next game. We have Wales at Murrayfield, that is now a massive test for us."

CAPTION(S):

DEFIANT MOOD Tommy Seymour

no chance france Grigg, Graham, Seymour and Hastings look dejected
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Feb 25, 2019
Words:750
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