France made it two wins from two at Rugby World Cup 2023 with a 27-12 victory over spirited Uruguay in Pool A in Lille.
The hosts were chastened when Uruguay fly-half Felipe Etcheverry’s cushioned cross-field pass was collected by Nicolas Freitas who hared down the left wing for an early opening try.
Etcheverry’s French counterpart Antoine Hastoy soon found a way through the yellow jerseys to score, and two penalties by Melvyn Jaminet gave Les Bleus a 13-5 half-time lead.
Uruguay, ranked 17th in the world, moved to within a point when Baltazar Amaya scored but France substitute Peato Mauvaka pounced on a ricochet to run clear and touch down and wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey’s late try secured the victory.
“It has been a very difficult match,” said Maxime Lucu, France’s Mastercard Player of the Match.
“We tried to set the pace, but we couldn’t manage to score. We’re happy with the performance and the fact that we won in front of our fans. The tournament continues.”
Los Teros will have won many admirers for their performance in their opening match and will surely head to Stade de Nice to take on Italy with confidence.
Their captain Andres Vilaseca said: “I’m so proud of my team. I couldn’t ask for a better team to lead. We were fighting against France, one of the best teams in the world on their home ground. I am so proud. This is only the beginning for us.
“We fought for the whole game but it was key for us to keep pushing France and keep battling.”
Raphael Ibanez, France general manager, was keen to praise his team’s opponents.
“Credit to Uruguay,” he said. “They played with so much passion and heart.
“It was a hard battle but it is a second win for us in this competition and that is what is most important. We made some mistakes with the ball in hand and it was difficult for us to play with a good structure. We didn’t take the points at the end of the first half – it’s a World Cup game – and we will learn from that.
“The good thing about this competition, playing in France, is the crowd, the amazing atmosphere. It gives a lot of energy to the players so thanks to the fans.”
Story courtesy/ Rugby World Cup