France pulverize Namibia to pick record win

France Rugby players react in the World Cup. Photo. Rugby Pass

France are on the brink of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals after claiming the biggest win of the tournament so far with a 96-0 victory over Namibia.

Damian Penaud scored a hat-trick, while Jonathan Danty, Charles Ollivon and Louis Bielle-Biarry all scored twice.

Antoine Dupont, Thibaud Flament, Baptiste Couilloud and Melvyn Jaminet also crossed before a penalty try took their total tally to 14 in Marseille.

The only cause for concern for France was the loss of Dupont to injury.

The hosts’ captain was withdrawn during the second-half following a head-on-head tackle by Johan Deysel, whose yellow card was upgraded to a red by the bunker.

France head coach Fabien Galthie’s decision to keep his talisman on the field despite his side’s huge 54-point half-time advantage could be scrutinised if Dupont’s injury keeps him on the sidelines with the knockout stages looming.

Les Blues, who are top of Pool A with three wins from their opening three games, will face Italy in their next fixture on 6 October in Lyon.

Namibia are rooted to the bottom of the table after suffering three heavy defeats, and face a final pool game against Uruguay on 27 September.

A much-changed France side overcame Uruguay without overly exerting themselves in their last game, but the Namibians felt the full force of their wrath here.

Heavyweights Dupont, Penaud and Flament were back in the side and they were quickly into their stride at Stade Velodrome.

Dupont showed all of his class to fire a cross-field kick with his right boot for the prolific Penaud to extend his try-scoring run to six consecutive Tests.

Centre Danty marked his return to the side after injury with the second following some neat work from Bielle-Biarry close to the touchline before Ollivon rounded off a flowing team move.

Penaud added his second moments later with an inside pass from a line-out move off the training field, before Danty doubled his own tally with a powerful finish from close range.

Simple run-ins for Flament and Dupont followed before the diminutive scrum-half turned provider with a perfectly weighted clip off his left boot for Bielle-Biarry to score without breaking stride.

That try handed France a 54 point lead and their biggest ever half-time advantage, but they were far from finished.

Dupont made way holding his face but it would not affect the outcome on the night as his replacement Couilloud crossed unopposed in the corner.

Penaud secured his hat-trick in the same corner before Namibia, who had been toothless in attack, intercepted a loose French pass and threatened to score their opening try, but Jaminet covered the kick through as France recycled the ball and Bielle-Biarry ran it straight back with interest.

An Ollivon dummy for try number 12 was followed by a neat backs’ move for Jaminet to finish off before a final penalty try ended the rout.

France are among the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy next month, and they will face tougher challenges than the one posed by Namibia, but their ruthless attack has sent a real message to the rest of the runners and riders.

For France:
Tries: Penaud 3, Danty 2, Ollivon 2, Flament, Dupont, Bielle-Biarrey 2, Couilloud, Jaminet, penalty try
Cons: Ramos 12

For Namibia: NONE

Yellow card: Jason Benade (Namibia, 80 – deliberate  foul play)

Red card: Johan Deysel (Namibia, 45 – dangerous tackle)


France: 15 Thomas Ramos; 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Paul Boudehent, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Yoram Moefana, 23 Melvyn Jaminet

Namibia: 15 Andre van der Berg; 14 Gerswin Mouton, 13 Johan Deysel (captain), 12 Danco Burger, 11 JC Greyling; 10 Cliven Loubser, 9 Jacques Theron; 8 Prince Gaoseb, 7 Johan Retief, 6 Max Katjijeko; 5 Adriaan Ludick, 4 Mahepisa Tjeriko; 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Desiderius Sethie
Replacements: 16 Obert Nortje, 17 Jason Benade, 18 Haitembu Shikufa, 19 PJ Van Lill, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Oela Blaauw, 22 Alcino Izaacs, 23 Divan Rossouw

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland) & Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)

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