Spirited Uruguay give France a massive scare in Lille
MATCH REPORT: A spirited Uruguayan team pushed France all the way in their World Cup Pool A clash in Lille on Thursday.
The hosts won the match 27-12, but the South Americans will get most of the plaudits for the way they took the game to Fabien Galthie’s side, especially on attack.
In the end, France only outscored their opponents by three tries to two in the match.
France had a 13-5 lead at the break, but they only found themselves one point ahead after 54 minutes with the visitors applying plenty of pressure with ball in hand.
The hosts eventually had enough in the tank to score two more tries to take the game away from Uruguay.
After asserting their dominance in the scrum, France opened the scoring in the third minute with a Melvyn Jaminet penalty.
However, Uruguay shocked the home fans in the sixth minute when they scored the first try of the game. After a neat kick pass from Felipe Etcheverry, Jaminet failed to gather the ball and it was Nicolas Freitas who controlled the ball nicely with his boot before picking it up and scoring. Etcheverry missed the conversion.
It didn’t take long for the home side to get a try of their own after that and it was Antoine Hastoy who made good use of a decoy run to sprint in for a score.
Jaminet made it a five-point lead with the conversion before he increased it to eight points with a penalty a few minutes later.
The visitors were then given a slight advantage when France lock Romain Taofifenua received a yellow card in the 27th minute for a high tackle with his shoulder.
After a few minutes of reviewing it in the Foul Play Review System, it was ruled that it should stay a yellow card.
Uruguay thought they scored another try in the 33rd minute when flyhalf Etcheverry split the defence to race to the tryline. However, the TMO spotted obstruction in the build-up and it was disallowed.
France threatened to score in the final minutes of the first half, but they just didn’t have enough patience on attack.
It was a nervy opening few minutes of the second half for France with Uruguay putting them under immense pressure inside their own half.
France wing Gabin Villière thought he had put his team further in front in the 50th minute with a try, but there was a knock-on before he got the ball.
However, it was Uruguay who would eventually get the first points of the second half when fullback Baltazar Amaya showed his speed and skill to evade a couple of defenders and score his team’s second try of the game.
Etcheverry made it a one-point ball game with his conversion.
However, France hit back almost immediately with a try when Peato Mauvaka gathered the ball after Etcheverry’s clearance kick ricocheted off his own player and the replacement hooker had enough power and pace to find his way to the tryline.
Jaminet made it an eight-point lead again with his conversion.
The French eventually extended their lead in the 73rd minute when wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey was put into space in Uruguay’s 22 to dive over for his team’s third try. Jaminet made it a comfortable 15-point lead with his conversion.
France thought they got their bonus-point try in the 76th minute after Sekou Macalou picked up a loose ball after a great counter-ruck before sprinting away to the tryline. However, the officials ruled that the ball was kicked in the ruck and the try was disallowed
Man of the match: Gabin Villière was a livewire for France on the wing, while Sekou Macalou had a few great carries with ball in hand. However, we decided to give the award to Uruguay wing Nicolas Freitas, who kept the French defence on their toes in the match and he also scored one of his team’s two tries.
Tries: Hastoy, Mauvaka, Bielle-Biarrey
Cons: Jaminet 3
Pens: Jaminet 2
Tries: Freitas, Amaya
Yellow card: Romain Taofifenua (France, 27’ – foul play, dangerous tackle)
France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Yoram Moefana, 11 Gabin Villière, 10 Antoine Hastoy, 9 Maxime Lucu, 8 Anthony Jelonch (captain), 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Paul Boudehent, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Bastien Chalureau, 20 Thibaud Flament, 21 Francois Cros, 22 Baptiste Couilloud, 23 Thomas Ramos.
Uruguay: 15 Baltazar Amaya, 14 Bautista Basso, 13 Tomas Inciarte, 12 Andres Vilaseca (captain), 11 Nicolas Freitas, 10 Felipe Etcheverry, 9 Santiago Arata, 8 Manuel Diana, 7 Santiago Civetta, 6 Manuel Ardao, 5 Manuel Leindekar, 4 Felipe Aliaga, 3 Ignacio Peculo, 2 Guillermo Pujadas, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Gattas, 17 Matias Benitez, 18 Reinaldo Piussi, 19 Ignacio Dotti, 20 Lucas Bianchi, 21 Carlos Deus, 22 Agustin Ormaechea, 23 Felipe Berchesi.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)