France beat Canada 41-18 to close in on RWC QF

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JEROME PUGMIRE

France closed in on a Rugby World Cup quar­ter­fi­nals spot af­ter scor­ing five tries in a 41-18 win against Canada in their Pool D match on Thurs­day.

Vet­eran lock Pas­cal Pape scored the fourth try to earn a bonus point which is likely to be enough for France, the los­ing fi­nal­ist in 2011, to reach the last eight.

France now faces Ire­land in a game that is ex­pected to de­ter­mine top spot in Pool D, with the win­ner likely to avoid a show­down with the All Blacks in the quar­ter­fi­nals. The French lead the group with 14 points from three games, four points clear of Ire­land and 10 ahead of Italy.

“It will be a dif­fer­ent game, a dif­fer­ent story,” against Ire­land, France coach Philippe Saint-An­dre said. “The guys are look­ing for­ward and they will be ready.”

Cap­tain Thierry Dusautoir is al­ready rel­ish­ing fac­ing the Ir­ish.

“We’re here to test our­selves against the best,” he said. “Their scrum is very strong, they tackle well and their backs find space.”

De­spite the full­time score against Canada, it was a some­what patchy per­for­mance from France and the only safe bet was the ac­cu­rate kick­ing of Fred­eric Micha­lak.

The 32- year- old fly­half con­verted the first four tries and added two penal­ties on his way to be­com­ing his coun­try’s all-time World Cup scorer with 136 points. He made his World Cup de­but in 2003.

“A lot of peo­ple were sur­prised why I picked him,” Saint-An­dre said. “Against Italy and to­day he showed that he’s a class player.”

Micha­lak was re­placed near the end by Mor­gan Parra, who helped to set up winger Remy Grosso for a try on his test de­but as Canada played the last 10 min­utes with 14 play­ers af­ter Nanyak Dala was sin­binned.

AP

France’s Mathieu Bastareaud, left, and Canada’s Nick Blevins com­pete for the ball dur­ing the Rugby World Cup Pool D match be­tween France and Canada at sta­dium: mk, Milton Keynes, Eng­land, Thurs­day, Oct. 1.

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