France move through to World Cup quarters

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France move through to World Cup quarters

Frederic Michalak became France’s all-time World Cup points scorer on Thursday as the French became the first to reach the quarter-finals with a 41-18 win over Canada.

The 33-year-old fly-half, already France’s all-time leading scorer, scored 14 points to reach the 136 mark and move past Thierry Lacroix’s previous record of 124.

Michalak earned the man-of-the-match award in front of a record crowd of 28,145 at Stadium mk including Prince Harry.

France’s win was far from convincing with the Canadians coming back from 17-0 down to trail 17-12 in the first half.

It sets them up for their final Pool D clash against Ireland on October 11 to decide who tops the table and avoids a probable clash against New Zealand.

The Irish, unbeaten in two games so far, play Italy on Sunday.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said that while there had been a spell of poor play by his side he was pleased overall.

“The end result is three games, three wins and 14 points from a possible 15.

“As a group, we are eager to go far and we have some huge games to come starting with Ireland.”

A piece of brilliance by Michalak in the fourth minute opened up the Canadian defence, drew his defender and with a sublime sleight of hand passed the ball to Wesley Fofana who ran the ball in.

Michalak converted to draw level with Lacroix’s record.

He broke it in the 15th minute slotting over a penalty to make it 10-0. The Canadians’ evening worsened as captain Tyler Ardron had to go off with a knee injury.

The French did not have to wait long to add to their tally. Hooker Guilhem Guirado bundled over with Michalak adding the extras for 17-0.

The Canadians struck back almost immediately. French debutant Remy Grosso was beaten in the air and the ball was eventually worked brilliantly out to the other wing where DTH van der Merwe used his speed to outpace the defence and touch down.

The Canadians got their second when hooker Aaron Carpenter planted the ball on the line to make it 17-12.

The French pulled themselves together and responded with a try two minutes from the break, the ball worked by Bernard Le Roux to lock Pascal Pape for prop Rabah Slimani to finish it off.

They grabbed their bonus point fourth try when Pape squeezed the ball through a mass of bodies and Michalak converted for 34-18 with 13 minutes remaining.

The Canadians tired and saw replacement Nanyak Dala Bieng sin-binned as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

The one man advantage worked for Grosso who went in at the far left hand corner to mark his debut with a try.

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