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NZ prop makes debut for Scotland in loss

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/02/2017 By Gavin McCafferty

New Zealand prop Simon Berghan was emboldened by Scotland's reaction to some major challenges in Paris despite being on the losing side in his international debut.

The 26-year-old tighthead prop got his chance in the 59th minute of Scotland's 22-16 loss to France in Paris after replacing Zander Fagerson.

By that stage, Scotland's Kiwi coach Vern Cotter had been forced into a series of unplanned changes with captain Greig Laidlaw and his deputy, John Barclay, both off in the first half.

Barclay's replacement, New Zealand flanker John Hardie, lasted less than a minute of the second half and others followed off for treatment.

However, Scotland were level with nine minutes left and it took two penalties for France to overcome a resolute defence.

The front-page headline of L'Equipe on Monday morning summed up the home side's feelings: 'Relief'.

Former Canterbury academy player and Crusaders wider squad member Berghan says the Scottish players were gutted with the result.

"I actually feel the boys dug in at the end and showed we had turned a corner," he said.

"It's a disappointing result but I have mixed emotions because I am chuffed to have pulled on the shirt.

"I never got the chance last weekend but this week I got the opportunity and, against a team like France, for a tighthead prop to get a debut is as big a challenge as any and I was right up for it."

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