Fast-finishing French overcome valiant Canada

France triumphed 46-19 against a competitive Canadian side that equalled their more illustrious opponents for long periods of an absorbing match. Superior fitness won the day, however, as France finished in style against a weary side playing their second game in four days to secure a bonus point victory. Canada will regret the indiscipline that kept the French ahead throughout the match but otherwise played intelligent rugby throughout and did no harm to a reputation that is growing with every game.

Canada took an unexpected lead in the first half, with the boot of Australian-born James Pritchard curling over a penalty after just two minutes. France struck back in style in an exciting start to the match, as Vincent Clerc poached easy try after Canada failed to control a towering kick by young fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc. Canada were not ready to relinquish their lead quite so fast however and adopted similar tactics in the drizzling rain, kicking high and chasing with the same initial result: Ryan Smith scrambled the ball over the line as the lead changed hands once again in a furious opening ten minutes. The game settled thereafter, with Morgan Parra first equalling and then extending the lead with his boot before two further penalties in rapid succession near the end of the half gave the French a surprisingly slim nine point lead at the break.

The opening exchanges of the second half lacked the pace of the first as the score increased in steady multiples of three. Ander Monro kept Canada in striking distance, claiming two well-taken field goals; however Canadian indiscipline at the breakdown kept them from catching the French however as the clinical boot of Morgan Parra added a match-high 23 points. The Canucks matched the French set piece with surprising ease as desperate defending. Damien Traille cut through the Canadian defence from range after twenty minutes to spark the half into life; with the scores at 32-19 the Canadians briefly found their second wind and attacked fiercely, abandoning any chances at goal as the game opened considerably. The French took advantage of their tiring opposition late on however as Vincent Clerc scored two tries in rapid succession in the dying minutes to complete a deserved hat-trick.