Virimi Vakatawa grabs hat-trick as France give Samoa the runaround
Outhalf Francois Trinh-Duc suffers broken arm during game in Toulouse
France’s left wing Virimi Vakatawa celebrates after scoring his third try in the game against Samoa at the Stadium Municipal in Toulouse. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
France 52 Samoa 8
France performed a demolition job on Samoa in Toulouse on Saturday, scoring seven tries in a 52-8 romp, but they lost outhalf Francois Trinh-Duc to an injury that will keep him out for the rest of the November series.
Les Bleus, who thrashed Argentina 27-0 in their previous outing in June, dominated a disappointing Samoa side to boost morale ahead of the tougher home games to come against Australia and New Zealand.
Fijian-born wing Virimi Vakatawa bagged three tries and Charles Ollivon, Yoann Huget, Gael Fickou and a penalty try added to their tally. Scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud’s boot provided 13 points and Jean-Baptiste Serin slotted two conversions.
Samoa’s points came from Patrick Fa’apale’s early penalty and a second-half touchdown by Rey Lee-Lo at the Stadium Principal.
Trinh-Duc left the field after sustaining a fractured forearm in a second-half ruck and there were other concerns for coach Guy Noves as prop Jefferson Poirot, centre Remi Lamerat and number eight Loann Goujon also suffered injuries.
“Trinh-Duc . . . will have to undergo surgery,” said Noves. “We hope he will be back for the Six Nations (in February).”
There was a minute’s silence before kick-off in memory of the 130 who died in the Paris attacks on November 13th last year.
After an early trade of penalties Vakatawa went over in the left corner following a neat move.
Machenaud failed to convert but added a second penalty to give France an eight-point lead after 25 minutes.
Wesley Fofana grabbed the ball in a ruck and set up Huget for the second try as the wing ran on unchallenged before Machenaud again missed the conversion.
The third try started 90 metres out when France played a lineout quickly and Fofana foraged through the Samoa defence before offloading to Lamerat.
He found Vakatawa on the left before the ball was swung to the right for Ollivon to score. Machenaud converted and then added a penalty just before the break.
Samoa replied when centre Lee-Lo went past Uini Atonio and dived over.
France then received two blows as Lamerat was replaced by Fickou because of a shoulder injury and Jean-Marc Doussain came on for Trinh-Duc.
Fickou made an almost immediate impact with a try after being perfectly set up by Kevin Gourdon.
Another fine offload by Fofana, who produced a world-class display, started another excellent move by France that ended with Vakatawa’s second try in the left corner.
France then added a penalty try before Vakatawa powered through the defence to notch his third.