|2019 Rugby World Cup: France v USA|
|France: (12) 33|
|Tries: Huget, Raka, Fickou, Serin, Poirot Cons: Ramos, Lopez (3)|
|USA: (6) 9|
|Pens: MacGinty (3)|
France needed three late tries to survive a scare and see off the United States for their second World Cup win.
Yoann Huget and Alivereti Raka scored early tries but France conceded regular penalties and made handling errors to keep Gary Gold’s side in touch.
The USA, ranked 13th in the world, got within three points in the 64th minute but Gael Fickou and Baptiste Serin crossed in the space of three minutes.
With the bonus point secured, Jefferson Poirot added a fifth try late on.
France forward Bernard Le Roux said afterwards his side thought the match was going to be “a bit easier” and they got a “big surprise” in the first half.
“They got stuck in and gave us a tough time at the breakdowns and we didn’t get clean ball,” he said.
“So it was really tough, especially in the first half, and the bench did well when they came on.
“They made a big difference and we got some go-forward and our set plays opened up play on the outside.”
The win moves France up to second in Pool C, one point behind England.
Eddie Jones’ side ran in seven tries when they beat the US last Thursday and, despite the late points, France’s performance only strengthens England’s position as group favourites.
England play Argentina on Saturday and France meet Tonga on Sunday before the sides meet on 12 October in their final games of the pool stage.
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Late tries spare French blushes
France gave the score-line a flattering look with the late points that secured the precious bonus point, but for large parts of the game they were hugely disappointing.
In total they conceded 10 penalties to the USA’s four and conceded 18 turnovers to their opponents’ 13.
They were just six points ahead at half-time and when AJ MacGinty kicked a penalty for the USA with 16 minutes to go his side had the momentum and there appeared a real chance of an upset.
However, France took advantage when their opponents tired to follow their narrow victory over Argentina with another win.
There had been flashes of brilliance in the first half in particular, with both tries being created by the boot of fly-half Camille Lopez – the first a chip over the top and the second an excellent cross-field kick.
During a frustrating period in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, errors halted France’s progress and their sloppiness was summed up when an excellent break by Sofiane Guitoune was spoiled when he passed forward to Raka when the winger had a clear run to the line.
The USA made plenty of errors of their own and could have caused France even greater problems had they made better use of good positions in the second half.
USA coach Gary Gold said:”I felt we went toe-to-toe. We did make some mistakes but we never gave up the fight.
“It’s a bit sad we didn’t get a try on the scoreboard, but it was just a very, very good performance.”
France: Ramos; Raka, Guitoune, Fickou, Huget; Lopez, Machenaud; Baille, Chat, Setiano; Le Roux, Gabrillagues; Iturria; Camara, Picamoles (capt).
Replacements: Guirado, Poirot, Slimani, Vahaamahina, Alldritt, Serin, Ntamack, Medard.
USA: Teo; Scully (capt), Brache, Campbell, Iosefo; MacGinty, Davies; Fry, Taufetee, Lamositele; Brakeley, Civetta; Lamborn Germishuys, Hanco, Dolan
Replacements: Fawsitt, Kilifi, Mullen, Peterson, Pinkelman, De Haas, Magie, Palamo