Sleepy France give a display to forget

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ROBERT COLE

reports from Rustenburg

France 54

Ivory Coast 18

This was going to be either a match of records or one of comparisons. Due to the vast improvement of the Ivory Coast over five days, it was a surprising case of the latter.

Instead of the French record books being rewritten, Philippe Saint Andre's men became known as the first team to concede points to the African underdogs and, worse still, the side to let them score a try.

In fact the spirited if unorthodox Ivory Coast ran in two tries on a night of great distinction for them. For the French, it was an occasion to forget.

They lost their outside-half Yann Delaigue with an ankle injury and their No 8, Abdelatif Benazzi, with a cut eye. They also got their pride dented somewhat.

The coach, Pierre Berbizier, will want to see a vast improvement in attitude and application before his side take on Scotland on Saturday in the Group D decider in Pretoria. So far his side have failed to wake up.

The difference between winning and losing in that game is likely to be an immeasurably easier quarter-final against either Ireland or Wales for the winners - with the losers facing New Zealand.

The Ivory Coast harboured no thoughts of reaching the knock-out phase when they qualified for the finals. Their dream was to perform creditably against the country they see as their "Big Brother" in rugby terms.

The scenes of celebration when the full-back Victor Kouassi kicked his country's first points, and even more so when the outside-half Aboubacar Camara charged down a Thierry Lacroix clearance kick to score their first try, were reminiscent of any cup final goal.

Never mind that they conceded eight tries, four in each half, and have now had 143 points scored against them in two games. They were good value, proved themselves worthy of being here and tricky opponents for the lacklustre French.

FRANCE: S Viars (Brive); P Saint-Andre (Montferrand, capt), F Mesnel (Racing), T Lacroix (Dax), W Techoueyres (SBUC); Y Delaigue (Toulon), G Accoceberry (Begles- Bordeaux); L Benezech (Racing), M de Rougemont (Toulon), C Califano (Toulouse), O Brouzet (Grenoble), O Roumat (Dax), A Costes (Montferrand), A Benazzi (Agen), L Cabannes (Racing). Replacements: C Deylaud (Toulouse) for Delaigue, 39; P Benetton (Agen) for Benazzi, 72.

IVORY COAST: J Sathicq (CASGI, capt); A Soulama (Burotic), T Kouame (ASPAA), L Niakou (Niort), M Brito (Biscarosse), A Camara (ASPAA), F Dupont (Nimes), J-P Ezoua (ASAPA), A Niamien (Bouake), T Djehi (Millau), A Kone (Soustons), D Sanoko (Biarritz), P Pere (ACBB Paris), I Lassissi (Burotic), A Okou (Poitiers). Replacements: P Bouazo (Burotic) for Soulama, 79; E Bley (ASPAA) for Ezoua, 47; E Angoran (Rodez) for Djedi, 74; A Kone (Souston) for Sanoko, 56.

Referee: Moon Soo-Han (South Korea).

Comments