Michalak rescues France

2012-11-24 20:57
Frederic Michalak (AFP)

Paris - Rejuvenated flyhalf Frederic Michalak scored 19 points as France twice came from behind to defeat Samoa 22-14 in their one-off Test at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The win gave France a sweep of their autumn series matches after beating Australia 33-6 and Argentina 39-22.

But they did it the hard way.

Samoa, buoyed by their shock 26-19 win over Six Nations champions Wales last weekend, had stunned a half-full stadium by taking a 7-0 lead on the 15-minute mark.

Prop Census Johnston, who plays his club rugby with French Top 14 side Toulouse, broke the French line with a chip through a gaping hole with supporting fullback Robert Lilomaiava just keeping the ball in play.

He shrugged off Brice Dulin's tackle to feed skipper and wing David Lemi to score beneath the posts with flyhalf Tusi Pisi kicking the conversion.

But France were level just three minutes later thanks to a fine individual try from Michalak.

The flyhalf, enjoying a renaissance in his international career, charged down an attempted clearance by Pisi and ran 30 metres to score before adding the conversion for 7-7.

Five minutes from the interval, Johnston was penalised for an infringement at the ruck and scrumhalf Morgan Parra succeeded with a penalty from 45 metres out to make the score 10-7 with Pisi squandering a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

But Samoa stunned France again after just two minutes of the second half when lock Joe Tekori barrelled over, making the line for a score which went to the video referee. Pisi converted for a 14-10 lead.

But errors and indiscipline slowly crept into the Samoans' game and that was the cue for Michalak to complete his evening's master-class.

He kicked four penalties from four attempts - the last of which in the 78th minute went in off the post - as France celebrated a not entirely convincing win.

Read more on:    france  |  frederic michalak  |  rugby

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