Scotland lock Tim Swinson has pleaded his innocence after conceding the late penalty which handed France victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The Glasgow second-rower was penalised for failing to release Les Bleus substitute Alexandre Flanquart as the visitors sought a late score that would keep their RBS Six Nations title hopes alive.
Jean-Marc Doussain slotted over the penalty with just 90 seconds remaining to clinch a 19-17 win for France but Swinson insists he did nothing wrong – a viewpoint backed up by TV replays.
However, the 27-year-old refused to point the finger of blame at referee Chris Pollock for the Scots’ latest heartbreaker.
He said: “It is tough to go into the last few minutes of a game and lose it that way.
“Personally I don’t think I was near the ball. But then at the same time the referee is the guy there making the decisions and you have got to respect that. That’s the way it is.
“That doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing. I’m gutted by the way it happened.
“However, one of the values of our sport is respect for the referee so we just have to accept it.”
After starting off their Six Nations campaign in dismal fashion with humiliating defeats to Ireland and England, the Dark Blues have at least claimed back some credibility with their last-gasp win over Italy in Rome and Saturday’s brave display against Philippe Saint-Andre’s men.
They led the stunned French 14-9 at the break and were 17-16 ahead going into the final stages, before the late agony.
Swinson says Scotland can still take pride from their narrow – yet painful – defeat.
“There are huge positives for us to take out of this match,” he said.