Honours shared: French B team overcome brave US

France 41, United States 14

Brian Liebenberg scored three tries as France completed a sweep of four World Cup group victories by beating the United States 41-14 today.

Prop Jean-Baptiste Poux and hooker and team captain Yannick Bru also crossed the American line at the WIN Stadium with Mike Hercus scoring a try and two conversions to take his total for the championship to a US record 51 points.

The French, who fielded most of their backup players, had already clinched top spot in Group B but became the first team in the 20-nation competition to win all four games. They will face either Australia or Ireland who meet in Melbourne tomorrow.

The Americans go home with just one win, against Japan, which ended a dismal record run of 10 losses. At least the victory means they now share that record with the Japanese.

Bru said his players tired in the second half.

"Most of the players who were at the game today are not used to playing," he said. "After a good first half our legs were very, very heavy. It was not easy because of the wind tonight.

"I think we are coming better physically and technically. Everything is better and better Saturday after Saturday. We hope that it will be a big surprise and the Wallabies will beat Ireland because I think it would be very hard to beat the Wallabies at home "

After going into halftime 26-0 ahead, the French only outscored the Eagles 15-14 in the second half.

"I suppose France was sitting back a little but it's only natural when you are up a little bit," American captain Dave Hodges when asked to explain his team's second half fightback.

"But we came out fairly well in the second half and I'm just proud of the effort the guys put in through the last 80 minutes."

"France are a class act and I think they'll go very far in the tournament. I think they are very skillful and they play with a lot of pace.

"I reckon, the way they're playing right now, and that was their second team playing the same way, I reckon they can go all the way to the final."

French coach Bernard Laporte fielded most of his backup players for the game while the Americans had a strongest available lineup.

Helped by the strong wind which had battered many parts of New South Wales during the day, the French dominated the first half and had the Americans in trouble for long spells.

Gerald Merceron kicked two early penalties before Liebenberg scored the first of his trio of tries in the 14th minute.

Elusive fullback Clement Poitrenaud pierced the American defense with a weaving run and the French had a double overlap, Liebenberg not needing David Bory to his left as he dived over.

Five minutes later South African-born center Liebenberg scored an action replay of his first try, arriving unchallenged to take a pass from Damien Traille and going over again.

American back row Dan Lyle, playing his sixth and maybe last World Cup for the Eagles, went off the field in a dazed condition in the 27th minute.

Dimitri Yachvili touched down in the corner after another great run by Poitrenaud but it was disallowed because the scrum half had his foot on the sideline before going over.

But tighthead prop Poux bulldozed over two minutes later with the forwards in command in front of the American line.

Merceron kicked a close range penalty in the final minute of the half and the French went into half time leading 26-0.

The Americans restarted with more aggression among the forwards and were rewarded with a Kort Schubert try in the third minute of the second half.

Two drives got the pack within an arms length of the tryline and, after they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, they moved it quickly and back row Schubert ran unchallenged through a gap for his third try of the World Cup.

Hercus, who had kicked an American record 42 points going into the championship, improved on that by kicking the conversion.

Liebenberg completed his hattrick after Merceron had taken a pass on his toes and lofted a long ball out left to the center.

Hercus scored his second World Cup try in the 51st when center Phillip Eloff was held just short of the line. The ball was recycled to the flyhalf who dummied a pass, sneaked through the tiniest of gaps and crossed despite a despairing French tackle. He also converted.

Bru scored a fifth French try and his first after back row Sebastien Chabal had run at the American defense. He released to his captain who ran through a huge gap for the try. Merceron converted and the French led 38-14 with 26 minutes still to go.

Yachvili marked his first World Cup appearance with a well struck drop goal against the tricky wind

The French wound up with 14 on the field as Chabal was sent to the sinbin in the 75th minute for too many infringements.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home