Scotland scrum-half Ben White has backed his side’s call to opt against kicking penalties in favour of scoring tries in Saturday’s defeat to France.  

Three times in the first half Scotland were presented with kickable penalties, but co-captains Finn Russell and Rory Darge instead opted for a lineout, a tap penalty, and a scrum.  

Zander Fagerson was penalised for collapsing the scrum with the clock through 40 minutes and France down a man, Uini Atonio having been sin-binned for a high tackle on Fagerson’s brother Matt.  

White said in a match decided by fine margins, it was easy to look at those as key moments, but defended the decisions.  

He said: “Hindsight is 20:20. It’s very difficult.  

“We back our scrum and we back ourselves as a backline to score tries off the back of it. It’s fine margins and obviously the penalty goes against you and say ‘probably should’ve taken the three’.

"But at the time on the field we felt they had given away a lot of penalties, we were on top and they’d had to take a back off because of the yellow card, so it was a great opportunity for us.  

“It didn’t come off for us this time, but we back ourselves as a team, but sadly fell up short.” 

White admitted to frustration that Scotland were unable to capitalise on a dominant first half, particularly with France down to 14 men.  

“We had good field position and momentum, and they’d just got a yellow card. From that point of view we were on top. 

“It would’ve been great if we came away with a try just before half-time. We didn’t but we came back out in the second half and got the first points.  

“We were in control for large periods. France are a top team with top individuals – they scored a good try, but again we fought hard and got back into it.” 

The Toulon scrum-half also offered his opinion on the match-deciding decision by referee Nic Berry and TMO Brian MacNeice.  

He added: "We worked hard to get back into the game in those last minutes, created a great opportunity to score and we were seconds from a decision going our way which is difficult.  

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“We’ve all seen the ball on the floor but the question the ref’s asked, he said he’s seen the ball held up so then it has to be clear and obvious for it to be overturned.  

“That’s their decision and that’s what we have to live with. It’s a frustrating one but they’ve made the decision. We have to move on now.” 

The game had started so well for Scotland when White crossed for his fourth international try after a terrific move.  

“It was a great team try,” the 25-year-old said.  “I thought our wingers chased and won balls back very well, then we played to the far edge and stretched them and created a good try.  

“We linked well and I just caught on to it and managed to slide across.” 

Though disappointed he wasn’t able to get the better of his club colleagues, White said he is enjoying his time on the French Riviera.  

READ MORE: 'Success for Scotland is winning the Six Nations', says Ben White

He moved to Toulon after the World Cup having been left without a side following the collapse of London Irish.  

White said: “It’s been a big change but I’m enjoying my rugby there. It’s a fantastic club with great players, great coaches and a good environment. I think I can definitely grow as a player out there.  

“It’s taken me a bit of time to get used to it. Being a half-back that doesn’t speak much French, it tests you, which is great.  

“There are not many jobs where you get to travel the world and you’re thrown in at the deep end.  

“But I’ve met some fantastic people. I’m trying to learn a new language and also a new way of playing at times and I think that has helped me with Scotland. 

“I’ve played for a couple of different clubs now and when you go to different places you learn something new and you develop more as a player and try to become a more rounded individual. 

“I want to enjoy my rugby, I want to play in big games every week and I feel like I’m able to do that at the minute.  

“I’m enjoying the challenge of it all and it’s gone all right so far, I think, but there’s always room for improvement.” 

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Talking of room to improve, White knows Scotland need to be more clinical when England – the team he made his debut against two years ago – visit Scottish Gas Murrayfield in round three.  

He added: “Last week against Wales when we were on top we took our chances really well, the few that we had.  

“This week, I thought our patience was really good in the finish zone and we put them under pressure but it was just a couple of passes… whether we can play them a little bit earlier or just how we convert that pressure into points. 

“One thing I think we have done, partly due to the conditions, is kick a little bit more. When we’re in these kick battles, it’s how we can come alive as a team, how can we maybe play the game and bring some of our individuals into it. 

“The more we can get some of our athletes on the ball, the better we play.”