France 33 - 9 USA Rugby World Cup Match Report
England will believe they have little to fear when they face France in 10 days’ time in their final Pool C game on the basis of this showing against the USA. In typical Gallic fashion though, no one can ever be sure which French team will turn up on the day as the battle to qualify for the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup heats up. Remember that you can get the latest rugby betting tips for all the Rugby World Cup matches over at Bet UK’s online betting markets. If you are a fan of rugby and are looking forward to Premiership Rugby returning this month, then make sure to head over to Bet UK's Premiership Rugby betting tips, for pre season previews and weekly tips for the biggest matches.
A final score of 33-9 hides something of a messy performance by France but Les Bleus did at least demonstrate enough polish to suggest they can still pose a threat to England at the top of the group. France began the game well but eased off a little before upping the pace to seal a solid enough victory.
USA coach Gary Gold was forced to make five changes through suspension and injury to the side which lost to England last week while France took the opportunity to rest a hatful of key players with Tonga up next in four days’ time. That strength from the French bench was neatly demonstrated with plenty of scoring in the final periods of the game.
First-half scoring & highlights
The game opened to testing conditions in a windy and wet Level 5 Stadium in Fukuoka. France wasted no time in getting proceedings underway on the front foot though.
Not long after the opening whistle, full-back Thomas Ramos kick-started a fine flowing move from the back to allow Camille Lopez the opportunity to chip over a flat-footed USA defence. Wingman Yoann Huget neatly gathered the ball to dive beneath the sticks and open the try scoring with the clock ticking to five minutes. Ramos collected the extras from an accurate conversion.
Any fears that the USA would retreat early in the game to soak up pressure were allayed with the American unit regrouping to push forward and grab their first points of the match. AJ MacGinty kicked over on 19 minutes from a penalty to bring the score to 7-3.
With the French not having things entirely their own way as the first period progressed, the buoyant USA fans thronged in the stands were quietened somewhat on 23 minutes with the second try of the game. Lopez was again the provider after the Americans were penalised. The Clermont number 10 neatly kicked to set up Alivereti Raka who sprinted over the line. Ramos failed to convert from a tight angle this time.
With the score on 12-3 until the half-hour mark, the USA got themselves right back in the game as MacGinty added another three from a penalty kick to cut the French lead to just six points. As the sun set as half time beckoned, the two sides entered the break with the USA perhaps the more satisfied after putting up a decent first half scrap.
A change of hooker for the French as the two teams emerged for the second half. Guilhem Guirado came off the bench to replace Camille Chat and resumed the captaincy the Montpellier man has held since 2016.
The French looked much improved as the second period unfolded but were still failing to entirely click. With the score static as the hour mark approached, the USA sensed a growing frustration in their opponents and refused to roll over. MacGinty added another penalty on 65 minutes to bring the score to 12-9 and set up a potential fairy-tale scenario for American dreams.
A minute later it all looked lost however as centre Gael Fickou went over close to the posts to spring the French out of jail. Lopez added the extras to extend his side’s lead to 10 points.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, France began to put on a show and demonstrate what they can possess in their locker. Baptiste Stern added the bonus point try on 70 minutes as the American defence opened up with Lopez again converting to make it 26-9.
With the game all but over, the French coasted through the final minutes to make it two wins from two at the World Cup. With a little gloss added to the scoreline in the dying moments, Jefferson Poirot added another try in the final minute of regular time with Lopez again impeccably adding the extras. France are still outsiders to win the World Cup, at 25/1 with Bet UK.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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