France finally beat Uruguay in Lille on Thursday, but it was the impressive South Americans who came away with the most credit.
The hosts, facing a second-tier team, made it two wins from two to remain in pole position in Pool A, but were pushed all the way by Uruguay, who may now rethink their pre-tournament target of qualify for the next World Cup. and an exit in the group stage.
Uruguay stunned their home fans when Nicolas Freitas collected a loose ball to score the first try after six minutes. Although Antoine Hastoy and the boot of Melvyn Jaminet allowed France to break clear, they were fortunate to lead 13-5 at halftime after a second. Felipe Etcheverry’s visitors’ try was harshly ruled out for obstruction.
Thirteen minutes after the break, Baltazar Amaya scored a brilliant try which Etcheverry converted to bring Uruguay, playing with remarkable confidence, to within one point.
France, struggling with discipline all night, hit back quickly with a try from Peato Mauvaka but still couldn’t take command and only managed one more, to Louis Bielle-Biarrey.
Additional reporting from Reuters.