A late Noa Nakaitaci try snatched a 19-16 win for France over Scotland in their final World Cup warm-up test at the Stade de France on Saturday.
It had been 16 years since Scotland last won in Paris, and until the 73rd minute it appeared the hoodoo might be broken by a team that six months ago ran last in the Six Nations tournament.
“It was important to win this match,” said France coach Philippe Saint-Andre.
“We were patient and we didn’t panic when we conceded a try, and came back.
“We were less efficient in the first half in the ruck and clearing.
“We lacked intensity. We had a talk at half-time and in the second half things were different.”
He added: “It was a high level match, and we’re now heading for England full of confidence.”
Saint-Andre’s side dominated in many aspects including fitness but were hit with centre Fofana and lock Pascal Pape both going off injured.
Fofana, 27, picked up a thigh injury after 35 minutes and was replaced by Alexandre Dumoulin while 34-year-old Pape limped off with a knee knock after 53 minutes.
Both sides traded penalty goals in the opening half, with Scotland sending over three to France’s two to lead 9-6 at the break.
The hosts took the lead for the first time after 58 minutes when Scott Spedding sent over a penalty from inside his own half.
But Scotland would regain the lead four moments later when Tommy Seymour scored, allowing Greig Laidlaw to convert.
The French pushed forward and Scotland were left a man down for the final 10 minutes when David Denton was sin-binned for a foul on Mathieu Bastareaud.
It allowed Nakaitaci to combine with fly-half Remi Tales before powering over for the winner on 73 minutes which substitute Morgan Parra converted.
Saint-Andre’s side open their World Cup campaign against Italy on September 19 with Scotland starting against Japan in Gloucester on September 23.
Scotland coach Vern Cotter said his side was extremely disappointed after coming so close to victory.
“The guys really wanted to win, it’s been several years now that we haven’t managed to do that here.
“There is still a lot of work to do but the team showed good spirit this evening, conditions were difficult with rain.
“I think they (France) are stronger than during the Six Nations and if they continue like that they’ll be difficult to play (in the World Cup).”