France 87 Namibia 10: Marty follows erratic line to put France back on track

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The Independent Online

France got their World Cup show back on the road with a rout in Toulouse last night. Yet doubts remain whether Bernard Laporte's men can trouble the southern hemisphere's increasing authority at this tournament.

A runaway win and try-scoring fest might indicate a vintage French display, but this was well short of that. Crucially, too, the match ended as a reasonable contest after 20 minutes when Namibia's No 8 Jacques Nieuwenhuis was sent off. The referee, Alain Rolland, had warned him after a high hit on Vincent Clerc but the African was hunting big game. He launched a wild, dangerous lunge at Sébastian Chabal and flattened the giant Frenchman, some feat. But such stupidity cost him any further involvement.

Namibia had also lost fly half Emile Wessels with a knee injury after 12 minutes, three minutes after he'd dropped a neat goal.

Thereafter the French had a harvest of possession, but were error-prone and inconsistent. They dropped the ball too much, especially centre David Marty, who made many bizarre decisions and the necessary flow, precision and finishing appeared only intermittently

Four tries secured the bonus point within half an hour, with the French lock Lionel Nallet rumbling over for a try but only after a forward pass. He got another eight minutes later, between which Clerc also sped through a disorganised defence.

France: Tries: Clerc 3, Chabal 2, Nallet 2, Heymans, Marty, Dusautoir, Bonnaire, Elissalde, Ibanez. Conversions: Elissalde 11. Namibia: Try: Langenhoven. Con: Losper. Drop Goal: Wessels.

France: C Poitrenaud; V Clerc, D Marty, D Traille, C Heymans; F Michalak, J-B Elissalde (Capt.); J-B Poux, D Szarzewski, P De Villiers, S Chabal, L Nallet, Y Nyanga, T Dusautoir, J Bonnaire. Replacements: N Mas for De Villiers, 40; Y Jauzion for Traille, 50; I Harinordoquy for Nyanga, 55; F Pelous for Chabal, 58; L Beauxis for Michalak, 63; A Rougerie for Poitrenaud, 67; R Ibanez for Szarzewski, 69.

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

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