Huw Jones looked like he had found a penny but lost a pound as he looked back at a match where he had scored two tries and carried brilliantly in heavy traffic to make 138 metres for his team, only to end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

“We’re disappointed,” said the 29-year-old centre. “In terms of the championship so far, that was our best performance which is tough to take, because after a pretty horrible start I felt we played a lot of really good rugby

 “We were chasing the game, but in the second half we had the ascendancy, we were playing good rugby and hammering at their line. It was just that last 10 minutes … after our third try we had to get back up their end, but a couple of mistakes and we were sitting on our line rather than theirs.

“I don’t know why [we couldn’t kick on]. I’ll have to watch it back to give you a proper 

“It’s just rugby isn’t it. Two teams going at it when it’s close, and it’s just little moments like that that decide a Test match.

“I felt we had them, so to come away with a loss with them scoring right at the end, that hurts. It’s a tough one to take. 

“But on the whole, it was a good performance. There’s a lot we can take and be happy about. We said at the beginning of the championship that we wanted to improve game by game and raise our ceiling. I felt we did that here, so we’re looking forward to the next two games. I think there is a lot to be excited about.”

Focusing on the positives, Jones reasoned that this match was the ideal preparation for taking on Ireland in a fortnight after starting this Six Nations campaign with wins over two out-of-sorts teams in the shape of England and Wales.

“It [playing Ireland next] is a challenge I’m looking forward to. They’re playing really good rugby, they’re No.1 in the world for a reason, but at home we back ourselves against anyone. We’ve shown that we can play well at Murrayfield, that it’s a tough place to come for the away team.

“France were definitely the best team we’ve played so far in this championship. They’ve earned their second spot in the world, but I felt we could have come away with a win.

“The difference is that they made us pay for our mistakes, just little things in transition; we lose the ball and we’re tracking back 60 metres and defending our own line.

“But we know what we can do both sides of the ball. When we’ve got the ball we can really go at teams and score points.”

When asked about his own spectacular return to the Scotland fold after three years as a peripheral figure, Jones admitted: “It’s great to be back in, on a personal level.

“It’s obviously been a while so I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to be back in the shirt and play again. 

“The fact we’re playing exciting rugby is a massive thing. I got on the end of a couple of tries. I’m happy with that and where this team is going.

“Playing outside Finn [Russell] is a dream, at times he’s got defenders on strings. All options are on and when he’s able to pick the right one and play flat at the line, it’s great. All options are on so you’ve got to be ready for it.”

Jones was singled out by his coach, Gregor Townsend, for special praise for his performance.

“In the last two weeks I’ve felt, and the coaches have felt, he’d have a breakthrough game as he’d been training so well and today was that breakthrough game,” the Scotland head coach said.

“In the first half I felt France had defended really well out wide, but in the second half those spaces opened up out wide and with Huw and the other threats we have we really created problems in the French defence."