10 Sep 2011

France hold off Japan to end with 47-21 victory

8:59 pm on 10 September 2011

France overcame a second-half wobble to power their way to a 47-21 bonus point victory over Japan in their Rugby World Cup pool opening match at the North Harbour Stadium in Auckland on Saturday.

The French dominated their lighter but more agile Asian opponents in the scrum and breakdown in the opening half but numerous mistakes crept in during the second period as Japan closed to within four points with 20 minutes to go.

New Zealand-born first five eight James Alridge was Japan's solitary scorer, running in two tries and kicking 11 points as the Brave Blossoms threatened to produce the greatest World Cup upset.

However, Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape and Morgan Parra powered over for late tries to secure the win.


France: Tries: Vincent Clerc, Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape, Morgan Parra, Julien Pierre, Francois Trinh-Duc. Penalty: Dimitri Yachvili (3). Conversions: Yachvili (4).

Japan: Tries: James Arlidge (2). Penalty: Arlidge (3). Conversions: Aldridge.

Referee: Steve Walsh.