(CNN) -- Reigning champions France got their 2011 Six Nations campaign off to a winning start with a 34-21 victory over Scotland on Saturday.
Although tense at times, their victory at the Stade de France was in stark contrast to their last match in the Paris stadium in November, when they were booed off the pitch following a humiliating 59-16 defeat to Australia.
"We are especially relieved to have won the first match of the Six Nations, France skipper Thierry Dusautoir told reporters. "There were a lot of nerves before we went onto the pitch, but it was great to hear the applause from the fans."
In Saturday's other match of the February 4-March 19 annual rugby competition, Ireland clinched a 13-11 victory over underdogs Italy.
France needed just two minutes to take the lead courtesy of a try from winger Maxime Medard which was successfully converted by scrum-half Morgan Parra.
Scotland quickly found themselves 10-0 down after their scrum collapsed and France fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc was able to extend the home side's lead with a drop-goal.
But despite being without a win in the French capital since 1999, Scotland -- who finished fifth in the Six Nations in 2010 -- were undeterred and shocked Les Bleus by scoring a try 19 minutes in.
Captain Andy Kellock's successful charge through the French defense brought the visitors within just three points of their opponents. However, France's 10-point lead was restored before halftime after they were awarded a penalty -- converted by Parra -- following a warning in the scrum for Euan Murray.
When play resumed France once again looked to be storming to an unassailable lead with a Imanol Harinordoquy try after 55 minutes, converted by second-half replacement Dimitri Yachvili to make it 24-7.
Once again Scotland refused to give up, and mistakes in the French defense allowed No. 8 Kelly Brown and replacement winger Sean Lamont to break through.
Conversions from Dan Parks once again brought the Scots within three points of France, only for a Yachvili penalty in the dying minutes to extinguish any hopes of an upset.
Ireland were also pushed to the limit by Italy at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome.
The home side looked to be on the brink of a huge upset, and what would have been their first ever win over Ireland in the competition, when full-back Luke McLean dived over the line with just six minutes to go to put the Azzurri 11-10 ahead.
However, a missed conversion from Mirco Bergamasco proved costly for Italy as Ireland quickly retaliated with a drop-goal from replacement back Ronan O'Gara which saved the 2009 champions from an embarrassing defeat.
Italy joined the competition in 2000 to make it the Six Nations, but since then are the only team to have never lifted the trophy.
In the Friday's opening match of the round-robin tournament, England defeated Wales 26-19 in Cardiff.
England will next face Italy at home next Saturday, when Scotland welcome Wales, and the following day France will travel to Dublin to play Ireland.