France’s power too much for Canada
It might not have been a performance typically associated with Les Bleus, but France got the job done against Canada with minimal fuss in the World Rugby Classic Plate semi-final at North Field, National Sports Centre.
In the absence of almost any of the traditional French counter-attacking flair, it was left to the side’s forwards to dominate against a vastly-inferior Canada, who remained camped inside their own half for the majority of the often-turgid affair.
At least the colourful insight into the game provided by a tipsy Dan Parks, the Classic Lions fly half, in the commentary box helped make up for the lack of bums-off-seats excitement during the thoroughly one-sided encounter. Sebastian Bozzi, the France prop, made no apologises for his team’s sometimes one-dimensional play, insisting that they had made a conscious decision to sacrifice beauty for brawn in order to get the result.
“It wasn’t too beautiful for the people who were watching but it was a good tactical game for us,” said the former Perpignan player, whose side will face Italy in the Plate final tomorrow.
“We played a lot more through the middle with our forwards because we know that Canada don’t like that.
“Tonight we couldn’t play the French style because to win the game we knew we had to play a little differently, a lot of mauling — it was our tactic.
“We are so happy to have won this game because we want to take the Plate back home to France.”
France set the tone for the match, taking the lead after five minutes when Xavier Plataret, the lock, forced his way over the line, with Bozzi missing the conversion.
Thierry Louvet, the France player-coach, then extended his side’s lead with a near carbon copy try on 21 minutes as France’s forwards put on a display of power, dominating the set pieces and open play.
France also missed their second conversion, this time Steeve Sargos kicking wide.
Moments before half-time, France scored their third try through Olivier Nauroy, the hooker, with Matthieu Maillard finding his range from the conversion to make it 17-0.
The game was just as tough to watch in the second half as it was in the first, with France continuing to use their more-than-willing forwards as a proverbial battering ram.
They added one more try through Plataret, who claimed his second.
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