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Friday 9 December 2016

Bonus point comes late for France

France's Yannick Nyanga in action during the Rugby World Cup match at The Olympic Stadium, London
France's Yannick Nyanga in action during the Rugby World Cup match at The Olympic Stadium, London

France took all of 70 minutes to find their bonus-point against Romania at Olympic Park last night.

The thirteen changes theircoach Philippe Saint-Andre made for last night meant there would be little to learn that would be relevant when Ireland come their way in 17 days.

In terms of Romania, the Irish will have to be on point at the scrum where France were made to suffer the rare indignity of being regularly crushed.

The lineout work of number eight Mihai Macovei resembled that of Sergio Parisse and, on the edges of the ruck, their pick-and-go was powerful.   

The most obvious area for gain is in putting The Balkan nation’s discipline to the test.

Centre Florian Vlaicu could not ground the ball and the same man had to be content with tying it up at 3-all from a penalty advantage. 

There was even the hint of the thinkable until tight-head Paulica Ion was binned and right wing Sofiane Guitoune made the corner flag on the half-hour.  

Romania had to prevent one try from quickly turning into two. They couldn’t.

Flanker Yannick Nyanga glided through for Morgan Parra’s second conversion to put France 17-3 clear four minutes later. 

This was reduced to eleven points by Vlaicu’s second penalty just before Ion trudged back onto the pitch near half-time. 

The wearing down process continued without any tangible reward as France lurched unconvincingly from one fumble to another.

Romanian flanker Valentin Ursache did make one break. Bernard Le Roux was there to turn him over as both nations struggled for any continuity.  

Eventually, Guitoune pinched his second try to move France within one more of a bonus-point, Parra’s extras taking them out to 29-6 in the 67th minute.

It duly arrived when Wesley Fofana exploited the tiring Romanians for a second try in three minutes.

It was left fo Ursache to come up with a well-worked consolation and for Gael Fickou to pick up the winners fifth try

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