Friday, October 8, 1999 Published at 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Mola leads from the back
French flair eventually won through after a fine Namibian performance
France 47-13 Namibia
France secured a comfortable victory against a spirited Namibian side in Bordeaux on Friday, thanks to a second-half hatrick from fullback Ugo Mola.
A try apiece from Pierre Mignoni and Philippe Bernat-Salles had put France ahead in the opening half, but the Africans at least managed to upset the French with Arthur Samuelson finishing off a well worked move.
France started with blistering pace, providing Bernat-Salles with an early attempt to attack down the right wing.
Namibia got back well in defence, however, though there was little they could do when the French drove superbly from a line-out five metres out, to force scrum-half Mignoni over.
The conversion was all but obligatory, but minutes later, Leandre van Dyk slotted home his side's first points after Fabien Pelouse was penalised for pulling down a maul.
The French gameplan was clearly to attack from everywhere, with forwards and backs linking well to put together some superb periods of play.
The net result was a penalty to France, with Richard Dourthe extending their lead.
The pace of the game was outstanding, with both sides willing to attack at any cost. And when Pieter Steyn intercepted a French pass it allowed Namibia to force their way upfield.
A five metre scrum was well held by the Africans, allowing Riaan Jantjies to throw the ball wide. It was Namibia's first real attacking opportunity and they took it with open arms - Samuelson touching down under the posts with almost embarrassing ease.
The French midfield looked somewhat more composed than in previous games, but they had clearly not blown away all the cobwebs with Van Dyk adding a further three points for crossing.
But France could not be pinned down and a huge tackle by Dourthe on Gert Jans van Rensburg, gave Bernat-Salles an opportunity to kick ahead for a superb 40-metre try, minutes before the break.
French fight back
Seconds after half-time Van Dyk missed an opportunity to put more points on the board when he badly mishit a penalty attempt.
Instead, it was France who took their chances, with Mola touching down in the corner after Namibia had knocked-on in their own 22.
The home side were certainly controlling more possession, throwing the ball wide and stretching the Africans on the flank with Mola quickly adding his second try to pull further away.
It was clearly his night, as the French maintained their momentum to allow the fullback a rapid hatrick.
In a move that encompassed the whole pitch, France moved the ball wide to create several phases of play, before Bernat-Salles popped the ball to Mola on the inside for his third.
The French were undoutedly beginning to tire the Namibians and when Emile Ntamack secured his 24th try after a fine switch in midfield, the African cause looked lost.
A late goal-line attack resulted in nothing more than a knock-on to France, and when the referee blew for full-time, it was left for the French fans to decide just how their team will fare against more forceful opposition.