France rallied late with three tries to finally beat a plucky United States side 33-9 at the Rugby World Cup. It was Les Bleus’ second successive victory in Japan but equally as unconvincing as their narrow success over Argentina in their opener.
The American players battled throughout the first period and, despite early scores by Yoann Huget and Alivereti Raka, France only led 12-6 at the interval. Poor handling by the Six Nations side and regular infringements thwarted France’s progress and, with AJ MacGinty landing three penalties the US got within three points with fewer than 20 minutes to go.
However, Jacques Brunel’s men finally found their form as Gael Fickou and Baptiste Serin crossed in the space of three minutes to end the match as a contest. Jefferson Poirot added a fifth try late on as France moved second in Pool C behind England. France forward Bernard Le Roux admitted it was a struggle at times and the USA were better than they expected.
“They got stuck in and gave us a tough time at the breakdowns and we didn’t get clean ball,” he said. “So it was really tough, especially in the first half, and the bench did well when they came on. “They made a big difference and we got some go-forward and our set plays opened up play on the outside.”