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France 27-12 Uruguay: Hosts maintain winning start with hard-earned victory

Winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 20, became the youngest Frenchman to score a try at the World Cup
France: (13) 27
Try: Hastoy, Mauvaka, Bielle-Biarrey Pen: Jaminet2 Inconvenience : Jaminet3
Uruguay: (5) 12
Try: Freitas, Amaya Inconvenience : Etcheverry

A much-changed France team defeated a spirited Uruguay side in Lille to maintain their winning start to their home World Cup.

The hosts, who made 12 changes from the team that beat New Zealand, took the lead through a Melvyn Jaminet penalty.

Uruguay hit back with a Nicolas Freitas try before Antoine Hastoy crossed for France.

Baltazar Amaya threatened a Uruguay comeback but Peato Mauvaka and Louis Bielle-Biarrey sealed victory.

A second victory in as many matches took France closer to the quarter-finals while Uruguay began their campaign with their best result against a top-tier nation at the World Cup.

The Blues resume their tour of the country against Namibia in Marseille in their next Pool A match on September 21, while the South Americans face Italy in Nice the day before.

Uruguay’s mistakes allowed France to escape

Uruguay did not play in the first round and were huge underdogs against a team that is tipped by many to win the tournament for the first time.

Anthony Jelonch returned from an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered in February as France captain as Fabien Galthie made significant changes.

Jaminet gave the hosts the lead from the start, but it was Uruguay who scored the first try of the match.

Freitas was the beneficiary when Felipe Etcheverry’s cross kick was placed on his boot by Jaminet before the winger collected the loose ball and touched it.

France hit back through Hastoy, who rushed through a gap in the Uruguayan defense to score – prompting relaxed smiles from the hosts as they celebrated, and hopes that it would be the first of a long series of tests.

But France were momentarily reduced to 14 players when Romain Taofifenua was penalized for an unarmed tackle directly on Santiago Arata’s head.

There was a feeling around Stade Pierre-Mauroy that he would not return to the field and the bunker would change his yellow card to red, but he would later rejoin the action due to easing involvement of Sekou Macalou in the tackle.

With Taofifenua off the field, Uruguay came closest to scoring the next try as Etcheverry crossed the whiteout following a wrapping move from the back, only to be ruled out for a block in the build-up by Tomas Inciarte.

Their perseverance would pay off after the break, however.

Amaya pierced the French defense with a precision run from deep to bring Uruguay within a point, following Etcheverry’s conversion, before their hard work was undone moments later.

The Uruguayan fly-half’s attempted clearance hit his own player and, as the ball looped back, Mauvaka collected it and carried it over the line.

Bielle-Biarrey, 20, became the youngest player to represent France at the World Cup and his debut came to life when he executed a simple try from a Hastoy pass to end Uruguay’s challenge.

Macalou thought he had then clinched the bonus point, but the try was ruled out when the flank appeared to kick the ball through the scrum.

Pool A
France remains at the top of Pool A after two wins in two matches

“Credit to Uruguay” – what they said

France Director General Raphael Ibanez said: “The first thing I would like to say is credit to Uruguay; they played with so much passion and heart. It was a tough battle but this is our second victory in this competition and that’s what which is the most important.

“We made a few mistakes with the ball in hand and it was difficult for us to play with good structure. We also didn’t take the points at the end of the first half and it’s a European Cup match. World is business and we will learn from it.

“What’s good about this competition which takes place in France is just the public and the incredible atmosphere. It’s a huge boost and it gives a lot of energy to the players, so thank you to the supporters.”


France: Jaminet; Bielle-Biarrey, Vincent, Moefana, Villière; Hastoy, Lucu; Gros, Bourgarit, Aldegheri, Woki, Taofifenua, Boudehent, Macalou, Jelonch (captain).

Substitutes: Mauvaka, Wardi, Falatea, Chalureau, Flament, Cros, Couilloud, Ramos.

Uruguay: Amaya; Basso, Inciarte, Vilaseca (captain), Freitas; Etcheverry, Arata; Sanguinetti, Pujadas, Peculo, Aliaga, Leindekar, Ardao, Civetta, Diana.

Substitutes: Gattas, Benitez, Piussi, Dotti, Bianchi, Deus, Ormaechea, Berchesi.

Arbitrator: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)


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