France wing Vincent Clerc scored three tries to help see off a resurgent Canada outfit 46-19 in the wet at Mclean Park on Sunday.
France wing Vincent Clerc scored three tries to help see off a resurgent Canada outfit 46-19 in the wet at McLean Park on Sunday.
In difficult conditions that made handling of the ball difficult, France scrum-half Moran Parra landed 23 points from the boot to ensure Les Bleus were able to bank their second win of the tournament in Napier.
The scrum-half's sure-footed accuracy in heavy rain meant France were able to bounce back from a slow start and quell the fight of the Canucks.
Canada tried hard but effort was about all they brought to the contest.
The Canadians had twice led early on but they were left to rue the misses from full-back James Pritchard as France were let off the hook.
Pritchard started well enough – slotting over his first penalty attempt to put Canada into an early lead. However, France hit back through Clerc after an up-and-under from Francois Trinh-Duc was missed by Pritchard, and the French flyer was able to pick up the loose ball and score an easy try.
The Canucks replied with a try of their own – also from an up-and-under. France full-back Damien Traille couldn't control the high ball and Canada centre Ryan Smith pounced for a converted try under the sticks.
Canada led 10-7, but failed to extend their lead after Pritchard missed two shots at goal, while Parra slotted over four penalties – three in the final six minutes of the first half to gibe his team a 19-10 lead at half-time.
Pritchard missed his third penalty attempt three minutes after the break, however Canada pivot Ander Monro did cut the deficit with a drop-goal. Parra, though, brought his personally tally to 17 points with his fifth successful penalty – only for Monro to respond with his second drop-goal of the match.
Parra finally missed an attempt at goal in the 51st minute but Trinh-Duc was on target with a drop-goal of his own to restore the nine-point advantage.
In a see-saw battle, Canada responded again when Pritchard added a three-pointer. However France put the game beyond doubt with a moment of brilliance from Traille breaking the Canadian resistance.
And although the Canucks attempted to find a way back into the game, France had the last word as Clerc crossed twice in the final minutes to give the score an unflattering look.
Man of the match: Morgan Parra's kicking from the tee was flawless.
Moment of the match: Canada's try alerted the French that they were gonna have a mighty big game on their hands.
Villain of the match: Nothing to report!
Tries: Clerc 3, Traille
Cons: Parra 4
Pens: Parra 5
Drops: Monro 2
France: 15 Damien Traille, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 David Marty, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 AurÃ©lien Rougerie (c), 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Romain, Millo-Chluski, 4 Pascale PapÃ©, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux Poux.
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Imanol Harinordoquy, 20 Dimitri Yachvili, 21 Fabrice Estebanez, 22 Maxime MÃ©dard.
Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Ciaran Hearn, 13 DTH van der Merwe, 12 Ryan Smith, 11 Phil Mackenzie, 10 Ander Monro, 9 Ed Fairhurst, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Chauncey O'Toole, 6 Adam Kleeberger, 5 Jamie Cudmore, 4 Jebb Sinclair, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Pat Riordan (c), 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Hamilton, 17 Scott Franklin, 18 Tyler Hotson, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Sean White, 21 Nathan Hirayama, 22 Conor Trainor.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)