Rugby Union: Castaignede keeps his head

Samoa 22 France 39
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The Independent Online
FRANCE WON few friends here when they scored two late tries finally to overwhelm a 13-man Samoa, who had George Leaupepe and the Wasps hooker Trevor Leota sent off early in the second half. Leaupepe went first, for throwing a punch at the replacement lock David Auradou after the Frenchman appeared to jump on the head of a Samoan player.

The referee Clive Thomas had just awarded a try to the Samoan scrum-half, Joe Filemu, when alerted to the Leaupepe punch and unusually took away the five points before dispatching Leaupepe. Two minutes later Leota was sent off for a vicious high tackle on the prop Christian Califano. The fired-up Samoans then took the game to the French, who lost composure, giving away several penalties.

Early on France had found the wet conditions difficult and Harlequins' John Schuster kicked three penalties to give Samoa a 9-0 lead before the Brive flanker, Olivier Magne, went over after a lineout drive.

Leaupepe, who plays for Bristol, scored Samoa's only try when he burst through the French defence, but just before half-time the French scrum- half, Pierre Mignoni, scored under the posts. After the break Erich Artiguste touched down, Thomas Castaignede converted and the added a penalty.

With Schuster replaced, Stephen Bachop kicked two penalties to level the scores. Castaignede then kicked a penalty to make it 25-22, converted a try by the replacement hooker Marc Del Maso and finally improved his own try.

Samoa: Try Leaupepe; Conversion Schuster. Penalties Schuster 3, Bachop 2. France: Tries Magne, Mignoni, Artiguste, Dal Maso, Castaignede; Conversions Castaignede 4; Penalties Castaignede 2.

SAMOA: M Umaga; B Lima, G Leaupepe, J Schuster (A So'oalo, 56), V Tuigamala; S Bachop, J Filemu; B Reidy (M Mika, 63) T Leota (I Feaunati, 60) F Pala'omo, O Palepoi, L Tone (S Smith, 62), M Tipi (T Fuga, 61), C Glendinning, P Lam (capt).

FRANCE: U Mola; X Garbajosa (O Sarramea, 58), E Ntamack, E Artiguste, C Dominici; T Castaignede, P Mignoni (F Galthie, 56); F Tournaire, R Ibanez (capt, M Dal Maso, 62), C Califano, A Benazzi, F Pelous (D Auradou, 62), A Costes, O Magne (C Labit, 59), C Julliet.

Referee: C Thomas (Wales).