Merciless France hammer 14-man Namibia

Hosts France showed no mercy to 14-man Namibia on Sunday as they got some vital momentum for Friday’s crucial Group D World Cup clash with Ireland, winning 87-10 to post their record score in international rugby.

Vincent Clerc ran in three tries, while locks Jerome Nallet and Sebastian Chabal grabbed a brace each and captain for the night Jean-Baptiste Elissalde scored 27 points to easily beat their 77-10 defeat of Fiji in 2001.

It was also a fitting riposte to their stunning 17-12 opening game loss to Argentina.

Cedric Heymans scored their first try—his 10th for France—in the seventh minute after a quick passing movement by David Marty to Frederic Michalak left the Toulouse winger with the simple task of running it in. Elissalde missed the conversion.

However, Namibia were unfazed and came straight back as Emile Wessels kicked an excellent drop goal to make the score 5-3 in the 10th minute.

Marty ran in the hosts’ second try after a flowing move down the pitch and Elissalde converted to make it 12-3. Namibia’s woes deepened as Wessels had to be helped off the pitch limping after just 11 minutes.

Namibia’s task was made even tougher in the 20th minute when referee Alain Rolland red carded Jacques Nieuwenhuis for a high tackle on Chabal and within a minute the French had driven over and Thierry Dusautoir touched down.
Elissalde converted for 19-3.

France were still making schoolboy errors, highlighted when Michalak flung a wild pass inside the tryline to Marty, who had already made a series of mistakes, and he knocked on and was fortunate a Namibian was not on hand to touch it down.

Nallet added their fourth try just after the half hour mark, though, Rolland missed a forward pass by Damien Traille earlier in the move. Nevertheless, the lock’s touchdown pushed France over the 1 000 points mark in World Cup history. Elissalde converted.

Heymans then set up fellow Toulouse winger Clerc, who touched down under the posts and Elissalde duly converted as the French made the most of their one -an advantage. Nallet added his second on the stroke of half-time after Chabal offloaded to him.

Julien Bonnaire added France’s seventh try seven minutes after the break as the French scrum pushed their opposite numbers over the tryline. Elissalde converted to make it 47-3.

The biggest roar of the night was reserved for Chabal.

His first try, which took the French past the 50 mark, came as he caught a cross kick and touched down.

Five minutes later he broke just inside the opposition’s half and burst through the Namibian defence, handed off one player, broke a tackle and handed off another to touch down.

Other tries came from Elissalde, Clerc from a nicely worked move for his second, before he added his third, again aided by Heymans, and Raphael Ibanez.

Namibia, though, had the last laugh as student and centre Bradley Langenhoven intercepted a pass from Yannick Jauzion and ran it back from inside his half to touch down and they converted to give them a meagre consolation.—AFP

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