Sun 20 Nov 2022 | 05:41

France record perfect season

France record perfect season
Sun 20 Nov 2022 | 05:41
France record perfect season
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MATCH REPORT: Wing Damian Penaud scored twice as France beat Japan 35-17 in the year-end Nations Series on Sunday to continue their winning run before next year’s Rugby World Cup on home soil.

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Penaud crossed on either side of half-time as Les Bleus claimed a 13th straight victory less than 10 months out from the tournament.

Along with the only side above them in the world rankings, Ireland, Fabien Galthie’s outfit are leading contenders for the competition with the two countries meeting in the Six Nations in February.

With the hosts of the next World Cup meeting the home country of the last edition, Galthie was forced into three changes including handing scrumhalf Maxime Lucu his 11th Test appearance.

Galthie’s counterpart Jamie Joseph brought in a fresh half-back combination after last weekend’s heavy loss to England.

Heavy rain started to fall seconds after the anthems in front of a sold-out 34 000 capacity Le Stadium in Toulouse.

The home crowd had something to celebrate despite the downpour after just seven minutes as Les Bleus winger Damian Penaud made the most of Ryoki Yamanaka’s mistake in his own in-goal area.

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Toulouse fullback Thomas Ramos then made up for missing the conversion by slotting two easy penalties and the home side led 11-0 after 17 minutes.

Brave Blossoms flyhalf Seungsin Lee, brought in after last Saturday’s hammering at Twickenham, opened his side’s account on the quarter mark with a shot at goal to make it 11-3.

Basque brothers

The rain stopped but the pitch and ball were left slippery before Ramos added a third penalty just after half an hour as Galthie’s side led 14-3.

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Les Bleus extended the advantage as Lucu set-up skipper Charles Ollivon, the pair coming from the same Basque village of Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle, to slide over and they were 21-3 up at the break.

Less than 80 seconds after the interval Japan reduced the deficit as scrumhalf Naoato Saito crossed following centre Shogo Nakano’s 40m break.

Lee converted to bring the score to 21-10 with 38 minutes left but their hopes of a comeback were short-lived.

Galthie brought Matthieu Jalibert on from Romain Ntamack just before the hour mark and the replacement flyhalf’s break from a chip kick down the right led to Penaud’s second try of the game and his 19th try in 37 Tests.

Ramos slotted the extras as the sun threatened to come out with the home side leading 28-10 with 18 minutes to play.

The Brave Blossoms, ranked 10th in the world, refused to go down without a fight as wing Siosaia Fifita crossed and Lee converted the additional points to make it 28-17 with a quarter of an hour left.

The smart move from the back of the lineout leading to the try highlighted what the people of Toulouse can expect at next year’s World Cup with Japan playing two group games in the town.

France sealed the win with seven minutes to play as flank Anthony Jelonch crossed after another Jalibert chip before Ramos kicked the conversion to take it to 35-17 as eyes turn to the defence of their Six Nations title with just nine games to go until hosting the World Cup.

The scrorers:

For France:
Tries: Penaud 2, Ollivon, Jelonch
Cons: Ramos 3
Pens: Ramos 3

For Japan:
Tries: Saito, Fifita
Cons: Lee 2
Pen: Lee

Teams: 

France: 15 Thomas Ramos; 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Yoram Moefana; 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Maxime Lucu; 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Anthony Jelonch; 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Cameron Woki; 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Reda Wardi.
Replacement: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Florian Verhaeghe, 20 Bastien Chalureau, 21 Sekou Macalou, 22 Baptiste Couilloud, 23 Matthieu Jalibert.

Japan: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka; 14 Dylan Riley, 13 Shogo Nakano, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Siosaia Fifita; 10 Seungsin Lee, 9 Naoto Saito; 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Michael Leitch; 5 Jack Cornelsen, 4 Warner Dearns; 3 Jiwon Gu, 2 Atsushi Sakate (captain), 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Kosuke Horikoshi, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Shuhei Takeuchi, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Tevita Tatafu, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Hayata Nakao, 23 Kotaro Matsushima.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland) & Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Tom Foley (Ireland)

PV: 11
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