France 32-3 Scotland: Les Bleus scythe through sorry Scots

By Sports Desk August 17, 2019

France stormed to a dominant 32-3 victory against an over-matched Scotland to launch their Rugby World Cup preparations in emphatic style.

Jacques Brunel's side beat Scotland 27-10 in this season's Six Nations and this was an even more sapping experience for their visitors in Nice.

The damage was done by first-half tries from Alivereti Raka, Maxime Medard and Gregory Alldritt, with Medard adding a second before Antoine Dupont went over with an hour played.

Gregor Townsend's men host the same opponents next weekend at Murrayfield, where they will need to make a better start than the botched line-out that allowed Raka to gleefully charge over on the end of Wesley Fofana's second-minute pass.

Medard touched down in the corner to make it 15-0, Camille Lopez having dispatched his initial attempts from the tee.

Adam Hastings kicked Scotland's solitary points but was in the sin-bin when the France pack obliterated their opponents in a rolling maul, with Alldritt the beneficiary.

Francois Cros was the latest home player to tear through Scotland's meagre defensive efforts in the 54th minute, allowing Medard a gleeful run to the line.

Dupont benefitted from Damian Penaud's mazy run, with Lopez adding the extras before France eased to the close, giving Townsend plenty to think about before the sides reconvene in Edinburgh.

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    Fiji have made 12 changes to their line-up for Wednesday's Rugby World Cup clash with Uruguay in Kamaishi.

    Following a 39-21 defeat to Australia in Sapporo, Fiji head coach John McKee has made wholesale changes to his side, with only captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Leone Nakarawa and Semi Radradra keeping their places.

    Eroni Mawi, Manasa Saulo, Tevita Ratuva and Mosese Voka – playing at his first World Cup – move into the XV after starting on the bench against Australia, with Mesulame Dolokoto and Api Ratuniyarawa in line for their first appearances at the 2019 finals.

    Viliame Mata and Peceli Yato are out with respective calf and concussion concerns, giving Voka a chance to impress as a flanker, while Vereniki Goneva, Alivereti Veitokani, Henry Seniloli, Josh Matavesi, Jale Vatubua and Filipo Nakosi all come in.

    With Wales having dispatched Georgia in Pool D on Monday, the Uruguay showdown could prove key to Fiji's hopes of reigniting their push for the knockout phase, and McKee is not prepared to underestimate a side they beat 68-7 10 months ago.

    "We are very wary of the Uruguay team," he said. "This is their first Rugby World Cup 2019 match and we expect a much-improved team from the one we faced in November."

    Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses has kept faith with much of the side that secured a spot in Japan against Canada last February, with nine players from that 32-31 play-off second-leg win involved.

    Captain Juan Manuel Gaminara is one of eight players who were in the 23 for the 47-15 defeat to Fiji at the World Cup four years ago.


    Fiji - Ben Volavola

    Fly-half Volavola was successful with four of five attempts with the boot against Australia and scored 23 of their 68 points in the rout of Uruguay last year.

    Uruguay - Andres Vilaseca

    Vilaseca was the only player at the 2019 Nations Cup to score multiple tries (two) and provide multiple assists (two), while he also managed a tournament-high nine clean breaks.



    - Fiji have won each of their three previous Test meetings with Uruguay by an average margin of 36 points per game, including the 68-7 triumph when they last clashed in November 2018.
    - Fiji have won eight of their last nine Rugby World Cup matches against Tier 2 opposition (L1), scoring an average of 41 points per game in those victories.
    - Uruguay have won seven of their 10 Tests since their last meeting with Fiji (L3); however, they will be out to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time since February 2017.
    - Fiji have scored at least one try in 55 of their last 56 Test matches, including their last 21 in a row, failing only to cross the try line against Georgia in June 2016.
    - Despite coming on as a replacement for Fiji in their opening game against Australia, Mosese Voka made 18 tackles – the most ever by a Fiji player in a Rugby World Cup game, surpassing Akapusi Qera's tally of 17 against Canada in 2007.

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Wales 43-14 Georgia Rugby World Cup 2019: Wales 43-14 Georgia

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    The Six Nations winners made a statement of intent in the first half at the City of Toyota Stadium - Gareth Davies pulling the strings as a bonus point was secured with a 29-0 lead heading into the interval.

    Jonathan Davies got things started early on, with Justin Tipuric, Josh Adams and Liam Williams getting in on the act as four of Wales' six tries came before the break, while Dan Biggar kept things ticking over with the boot.

    With Georgia pulling one back, Wales failed to recapture their first-half form after the restart, though George North teed up one try and scored another to add further gloss to a fine win which sends Warren Gatland's side top of Pool D.

    Gareth Davies' pinpoint pass split Georgia's defence open inside three minutes, with Jonathan Davies racing through under the sticks, though Biggar slammed what should have been a simple conversion against the post.

    Biggar made no such mistake with a penalty four minutes later and Wales soon doubled their tally of tries - Tipuric's quick feet doing for Georgia this time.

    Gareth Davies continued to toy with Georgia, and his wonderful quick take-and-pass set Adams free in the 19th minute, with Liam Williams then wrapping up the bonus point on the stroke of half-time.

    Wales' fourth try had come slightly against the run of play, and Georgia had their reward for a strong start to the second half when Shalva Mamukashvili bundled over.

    Jaba Bregvadze came on as a substitute shortly after, only to be sent straight back to the sideline after he was penalised for collapsing a maul.

    Georgia survived their numerical disadvantage without conceding, but they were undone once more as substitute Tomos Williams latched onto North's excellent grubber.

    Levan Chilachava - on his 50th cap - grabbed another Georgia try, but North had the final say when he drove over after Tomos Williams returned the favour with a fantastic offload.


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    The scrum-half featured in all five of Wales' Six Nations fixtures and also scored in three of the pool fixtures at the 2015 World Cup.

    He proved too much for Georgia to handle on Monday, creating two of Wales' first three tries either side of playing a crucial role in the second.

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    Wales were sensational in the Six Nations, storming to victory in all five fixtures, yet they won only one of their four warm-up matches.

    While they swiftly clicked into gear in this win, Gatland will be well aware there are much sterner challenges to come for his side, with the upcoming clash with Australia crucial in determining who will finish first in the pool.

    What's next?

    Wales' second Pool D encounter sees them go head-to-head with fellow heavyweights Australia on Sunday, which is also when Georgia face Uruguay.

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    Israel Folau will return to Rugby League to play for Tonga after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for posts on social media.

    Folau had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in April, with the 30-year-old - a devout Christian - having expressed views which breached the team's code of conduct on his official social media channels.

    He posted "hell awaits... drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters".

    The Wallabies and club side New South Wales Waratahs sacked Folau in May.

    However, Folau - who in July opened court proceedings against his former employers - has now announced his return to rugby, albeit in a cross-code switch to League, the sport in which he made his name with NRL sides Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos.

    Folau, if fit, will be in Tonga's squad for Tests against the Great Britain Lions in Hamilton on October 26 and the November 2 against Australia in the Oceania Cup.

    "I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to represent God, my family, my heritage and the people of Tonga," said Folau in a statement released by the Tongan National Rugby League.

    "I don't want to bring any of my personal matters into this and I am grateful that the RLIF [Rugby League International Federation] have endorsed my availability.

    "What I will do now is focus on playing great rugby league and do my talking on the field."

    Tonga have also confirmed Folau's brother John - who quit Super Rugby side the Waratahs earlier this year - has been called up.

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