Tonga hope to upset France again
September 27, 2011
France wing Vincent Clerc struck twice when last these two sides met © Getty Images
Tonga take on France in Wellington on Saturday knowing nothing less than a bonus-point victory will suffice if they are to have any hope of progressing to the last eight. An almighty ask but the Polynesians will undoubtedly take heart from the fact that they have at least upset the French before.
Indeed, while the Tongans beat the Wallabies in Brisbane in 1973, the greatest result in their history was arguably a 20-16 success over Les Bleus in Teufaiva, Nuku A'lofa in June 1999. Indeed, this was a French side that just a few months later would reach the World Cup final with an epic win over the All Blacks. Admittedly, the French did not have all of their star names on show against Tongans but players of the calibre of Fabien Galthie, Christophe Lamaison, Jean-Luc Sadourny and Philippe Bernat-Salles all started and they were left shell-shocked after a brace of tries from centre Josh Taumalolo and one from winger Tauna'holo Taufahema saw the hosts record a massive upset.
However, the two sides have collided on two other occasions and France ran out comfortable winners on both occasions. Their first meeting came in the 1995 Rugby World, with centre Thierry Lacroix accounting for two of France's four tries as they triumphed 38-10 in Pretoria.
Their last meeting came six years ago in Toulouse, with local favourite Vincent Clerc dotting twice this time around as France prevailed 43-8. Clerc is not the only current member of the French squad who featured that day, with David Marty, Julien Bonnaire, Aurelien Rougerie, Dimitri Yachvili and Lionel Nallet also having been a part of the matchday 22.
France v Tonga
All-time record: Played: 3, France won 2, Tonga won 1
Biggest winning margin: France: 35 (43-8, Toulouse 2005) Tonga: 4 (20-16, Nuku A'lofa 2006)
Highest score: France: 43 (43-8, Toulouse 2005); Tonga: 20 (20-16, Nuku A'lofa 2006)
Most tries: France: 5 (43-8, Toulouse 2005) Tonga: 3 (20-16, Nuku A'lofa 2006)
Most points (individual): France: 25 Thierry Lacroix; Tonga: 10 Sateki Tuipulotu, Josh Taumalolo
Most tries (individual): France: 2 Vincent Clerc, Thierry Lacroix; Tonga: 2 Josh Taumalolo
Previous World Cup meetings: France 38-10 Tonga, Pretoria, 1995
Click Here for France's full Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click here for Tonga's Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click here for a record of all France v Tonga matches courtesy of Statsguru
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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