France beat Tonga in fiesty encounter
November 16, 2013
The match was marred by confrontations between both teams
© Getty Images
France recorded just their second win of a wretched year with a 38-18 success against Tonga in Le Havre.
The victory over the South Sea Islanders was Les Bleus' first since March - when they beat Scotland in the final game of this year's Six Nations - and came as they bounced back following four straight defeats to the All Blacks.
Phillipe Saint-Andre's side ran in four tries at the Stade Oceane and saw scrum-half Morgan Parra and replacement fly-half Frederic Michalak kick a combined 18 points in a one-sided victory marred by scuffles which saw both sides finish a man down. Les Bleus debutant Sofiane Guitoune took just five minutes to register his first try for his country as he benefited from starting number 10 Remi Tales' clever crossfield chip.
But the Tongans were hardly helped in their cause when they lost scrum-half Taniela Moa to the sin bin after he elbowed French hooker Dimitri Szarzewski in the face during a scuffle in first-half stoppage time.
Within seconds France had made the extra man count as No. 8 Damien Chouly dived over in the corner for their second touchdown. And there was a further flashpoint just two minutes into the second period as Tongan prop Sona Taumalolo and Les Blues lock Yoann Maestri exchanged fierce punches before both were dismissed by Kiwi referee Glen Jackson.
A third try arrived on 50 minutes as full-back Brice Dulin finished off a fine passing move in the corner for France. However, wing Fetu'u Vainikolo did tap down for two late tries for the visitors - adding to the eight points contributed by the boots of Fangatapu 'Apikotoa and Latiume Fosita - but the hosts got a fourth score in between when substitute hooker Benjamin Kayser was heaved over by his team-mates, ensuring France finished with a 20-point winning margin.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
"It does sometimes get tough as you get older, but there's nothing else I'd rather do." Tom Hamilton talks to fly-half Dan Carter
Stingers, a rampaging Fijian and two Dannys looking to be champions of the world - Monday Maul looks at some key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds