Sunday 19 November 2017

French singing in rain


France overcame dreadful weather conditions to beat Fiji in pouring rain in Nantes yesterday evening.

The sodden surface ensured it was never going to be the thrilling spectacle the fans had hoped to witness.

The French scored three tries through centre David Marty and winger Maxime Medard plus a penalty try, while Dimitri Yachvili kicked 19 points.

Fiji responded with four penalties by outhalf Seremaia Bai but never threatened to upset the Six Nations grand slam champions.

The Pacific Islanders, with six French-based players in their line-up including Napolioni Nalaga on the wing, defended well in the early stages although they remained pinned in their own half.

Following an early exchange of penalties in driving rain and with strong winds blowing, France, who had been keeping the ball tight, put their grip on the game courtesy of a Nalaga blunder.

The Clermont winger failed to control a Yachvili wide kick in his in-goal area and Marty took full advantage of the blunder to score.

Centre Fabrice Estabanez was impressive for his first cap and his cross-field kick was gathered by Medard, who dotted down in the corner shortly after the restart, although by that stage the ball was a slippery as a bar of soap.

France's scrum improved as the Fiji forwards gradually ran out of steam and Marc Lievremont's side were handed five points when the Fiji scrum stood up under the posts.

Sunday Independent

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