Antoine Hastoy (11), Peato Mauvaka (55), Louis Bielle-Biarrey (73) score tries for France in a below-par World Cup Pool A win over Uruguay in Lille ; TMO Ben Whitehouse controversially decided not to change Romain Taofifenua’s yellow card to red, despite a one-on-one, unpacked tackle.
Last updated: 09/14/23 11:59 p.m.
France finally beat a courageous Uruguay to claim a 27-12 victory in Rugby World Cup Pool A at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, as Romain Taofifenua controversially avoided a red card.
Anthony Jelonch returned from a long absence with an ACL injury to captain the side as part of 12 changes to the starting XV which opened the tournament with an impressive victory over three-time world champions New Zealand at Paris.
The Blues took the lead through an early penalty from Melvyn Jaminet after Uruguay broke down the scrum.
The home fans, however, were then left in stunned silence when Jaminet failed to land a deep cross kick on the touchline. Nicolas Freitas collected the loose ball to rush down the left and score in the corner.
France responded with a try in the 11th minute when Antoine Hastoy burst from the scrum, which Jaminet converted and then increased the lead further with another penalty.
Taofifenua was sent to the sin-bin after the French lock caught Santiago Arata high with his shoulder in a tackle – which remained at a yellow card after review by TMO, Welshman Ben Whitehouse, while on another night, this could have been considered a yellow card. red.
Uruguay, playing their first match in Pool A, were denied a try in the 35th minute when Felipe Etcheverry dived, with Tomas Inciarte penalized for an obstruction in the build-up as France entered the half. time 13-5.
France thought they had scored a try early in the second half when Gabin Villière collected a loose ball to run, but it was inadvertently pushed away by Jelonch’s shoulder.
Uruguay then cut the lead to 13-12 after Baltazar Amaya passed in the corner and Etcheverry converted.
France, however, responded again when Peato Mauvaka landed under the posts after a fortunate ricochet off Etcheverry’s clearance to once again ease the nerves of the home fans.
Any hope of a Los Teros comeback finally ended after Louis Bielle-Biarrey went over in the corner before Sekou Macalou’s 80-yard try was ruled out by the TMO for running through the scrum.
Hosts France will face Namibia in their third Rugby World Cup Pool A match on Thursday 21 September at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille (kick-off 8pm BST).
Uruguay will then face Italy on Wednesday 20 September, in their third Rugby World Cup Pool A match, at the Stade de Nice (4:45 p.m. BST kick-off).
Ibanez: France will learn from its clash with Uruguay | Vilaseca: This is just the beginning for us
France team manager Raphael Ibanez said after the match…
“It was a tough battle, but a second victory for us in this competition, which is the most important,” Ibanez said, as quoted on the Rugby World Cup website.
“We made a few mistakes with the ball in hand and it was difficult for us to play with good structure.
“We didn’t take any points at the end of the first half – it’s a World Cup match – and we will learn from that.”
Uruguay captain Andreas Vilaseca said after the match…
“I’m so proud of my team. I couldn’t ask for a better team to lead,” he said.
“We fought against France, one of the best teams in the world, on their home turf. This is just the beginning for us.”