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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
France 87-10 Namibia
By James Standley

Sale star Sebastien Chabal powers over from halfway for his second try
Sale Sharks star Sebastien Chabal grabbed a brace of second-half tries
France (40) 87
Tries: Heymans, Marty, Dussatoir, Nallet 2, Clerc 3, Bonnaire, Chabal 2, Elissalde, Ibanez
Cons: Elissalde 11

Namibia (3) 10
Tries: Langenhoven
Cons: Losper
Drop-goals: Wessels

Hosts France got their stuttering World Cup campaign back on track by recording the largest win in their history.

They scored 13 tries against a Namibia side reduced to 14 men after 20 minutes when Jacques Nieuwenhuis was sent off for a high tackle on Sebastien Chabal.

Cedric Heymans, David Marty, Thierry Dussatoir, Lionel Nallet (2) and Vincent Clerc crossed before the break.

And Julien Bonnaire, Chabal (2), Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Clerc (2) and Raphael Ibanez added further tries.

France are engaged in a three-way fight with Argentina and Ireland for the two quarter-final places in Pool D and they had no margin for error after their 17-12 defeat by the Pumas which opened the tournament.

Ireland's subsequent struggles to beat both Georgia and Namibia will have given a boost to the hosts' shattered confidence.

And with Ireland having failed to secure a bonus point against Georgia, the bonus point France earned by scoring four tries on Sunday could prove vital.


Toulouse is the biggest city in the French rugby heartland in the south west of the country and Les Bleus played with real joie de vivre in front of their passionate fans.

Heymans had been horribly exposed at full-back as Argentina rained high kicks down on him in the first night disaster in Paris, but he was back on the wing on Sunday and grabbed the first try after seven minutes.

The Toulouse crowd greeted the score rapturously and although Namiabia fly-half Emile Wessels soon trimmed the gap as he popped over a sweetly-struck drop-goal, there remained plenty to keep the home faithful happy.

Marty scored the second try after a sublime piece of deception from former Toulouse fly-half Frederic Michalak, who is heading to South African side the Sharks, sparked a long-range attack.

Elissalde, who failed with his first conversion attempt, made no mistake with the extras and France led 12-3.

Any distant hopes Namibia had of upsetting the hosts soon suffered a hammer blow as number eight Nieuwenhuis, who had already been spoken to by the referee for a high tackle, was sent off after laying out Chabal.

France number eight Julien Bonnaire is tackled by Namibia's Piet van Zyl
Namibia fought hard but were outgunned as France came to life

Dussatoir was driven over after France kicked the penalty to the corner and they added three more tries before the break.

Clerc skated over in between a brace from giant Castres second row Nallet, and four Elissalde conversions meant the hosts led 40-3 at half-time with the bonus point already safely tucked away.

Soon after the re-start the France pack drove the seven-man Namibia pack back over their own line to hand a push-over try to Bonnaire before Chabal, who has become a French folk hero in recent months, exploded into life.

First he pouched Elissalde's cute kick from a penalty to open his account before bursting clear from the halfway line and brushing off three men to score the most popular try of the night.

The fiesta continued until just before the final whistle with Elissalde, Clerc, who grabbed a quick-fire brace, and Ibanez all crossing.

The final word went to Namibia as centre Bradley Langenhoven grabbed an interception try, which was converted by Tertius Losper, in the last minute.

But, with Elissalde including 11 conversions in his personal haul of 27 points, France recorded their record win and they will go into Friday's crunch match against Ireland in a far more positive frame of mind.

  • France coach Bernard Laporte:
    "We played very well. Unfortunately we had a few scars as a result of the Argentina game.

    "Since that Friday, we thought the memory of that result might cause us problems. But we were committed and brave. We showed the spirit necessary to pick ourselves up.

    "When bad things happen, we have to keep playing our best to revive our honour. We had to drive our World Cup forward in this match.

    "If we hadn't done this, we could have found ourselves in trouble. We respect the Namibians. They didn't pose us too many problems though. The team as a whole played very well, especially in the last 20 minutes. We scored many tries. We played to our strengths."

  • Namibia coach Hakkies Husselman:
    "After 20 minutes, we were down to 14 men.

    "No matter who the team, they would have finished up with a result like we did. The score could have been 120-0. It was very hard for us.

    "However, the French still made quite a few errors, but they managed to score a lot of tries."

    France: Poitrenaud; Clerc, Marty, Traille, Heymans; Michalak, Elissalde; Poux, Szarzewski, de Villiers, Chabal, Nallet, Nyanga, Dusautoir, Bonnaire.
    Replacements: Ibanez, Mas, Pelous, Harinordoquy, Beauxis, Jauzion, Rougerie.

    Namibia: Losper; Witbooi, Langenhoven, van Zyl, Bock; Wessels, van Tonder; Lensing (capt), Horn, du Toit, Kazombiaze, Esterhuize, Burger, MacKenzie, Nieuwenhuis.
    Replacements: Meyer, Redelinghuys, Lindvelt, du Plessis, Jantjies, Botes, Africa.

    France v Namibia as it happened
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    08 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
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    07 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
    Ireland 32-17 Namibia
    09 Sep 07 |  Irish
    France RWC team guide
    04 Sep 07 |  Team guides
    Namibia RWC team guide
    04 Sep 07 |  Team guides
    Ibanez to captain France at Cup
    02 Jul 07 |  Rugby Union
    Ibanez hails character of French
    17 Mar 07 |  Rugby Union


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