Nine try France despatch Georgia
September 30, 2007
Remy Martin dives in to score one of France's nine tries against Georgia
© Getty Images
Tournament hosts France have confirmed their passage into the last eight of the Rugby World Cup when they trounced Georgia 64-7 at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Sunday.
Lionel Beauxis, starting his first match at the 2007 World Cup, guided France into the quarter-finals with a precision exhibition of fly-half play.
The number 10 kicked 19 points as France ran in nine tries and picked up the bonus point they needed to overtake Argentina at the top of Pool D.
But they then had to endure an anxious wait for the result of the Argentina v Ireland game in Paris, which kicked off two hours later, to know who their opponents would be in the knockout phase.
If Argentina were defeated but managed a bonus point of their own it would mean France having to leave their own shores to play favourites New Zealand at Cardiff.
There was never any chance of Georgia causing an upset at the Stade Velodrome here.
France came out with their serious heads on, coach Bernard Laporte having made nine changes from the team which beat Ireland.
But, with David Skrela on the bench, it was the form of Beauxis at fly-half which caught the eye.
He was instrumental in much of France's fluid movement against a Georgian side which ran out of steam following their first World Cup victory against Namibia earlier in the week.
The highlight was one wonderful crossfield kick straight into the arms of Christophe Dominici, who jinked around Otar Barkalaia for the game's best try.
That was the first of two Dominici tries as many of the French players responsible for the opening shock defeat against Argentina returned to make some amends.
Clement Poitrenaud, Yannick Nyanga and David Marty all scored first-half tries before a carnival atmosphere took hold at the Stade Velodrome, with Mexican waves rippling around the ground.
As well as Dominici's pair, Sebastien Bruno, Lionel Nallet, Remy Martin and number eight Julien Bonnaire all crossed for touchdowns.
Beauxis weighed in with three penalties and five conversions with Georgia's lone reply coming from Zviad Maisuradze, converted by Malkhaz Urjukashvili.
One sour note for France was an injury to scrum-half Pierre Mignoni, who limped off in the first half to be replaced by Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.
So Georgia depart having made lots of friends despite having Irakli Abuseridze and Revaz Gigauri sin-binned for foul play.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September