After a clinical display against the All Blacks, France was way less convincing against Uruguay.
The French won 27-12 this morning against a spirited Los Teros who were not intimidated at all by the host’s pedigree.
The 49,000 spectators at Stade Pierre Mauroy, more accustomed to soccer than rugby in this northern part of France, did not like France’s performance, and there were whistles and boos at the final whistle.
Coach Fabien Galthie made 12 changes to the starting XV that dispatched New Zealand a week ago, and the replacements did not rise to the occasion.
France managed three tries, the last by wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey, who became the youngest Frenchman to play at a World Cup. Antoine Hastoy and Peato Mauvaka also touched down for the hosts, and Melvyn Jaminet kicked 12 points.
Uruguay had two tries from Nicolas Freitas and Baltazar Amaya. Los Teros had another try disallowed while France had two tries rubbed out.
After conceding a sixth-minute try, the French pulled themselves together to take the lead but could not make the most of their early scrum dominance. The hosts really struggled following Romain Taofifenua’s yellow card, and led only 13-5 at halftime.
Uruguay then came within a point, and the French had to dig deep. Bielle-Biarrey’s finally made the result safe with eight minutes. But Uruguay fought to the end as France piled up errors and finished on a yellow card warning.
France aims to top a World Cup pool for the first time in 20 years, and next faces Namibia.
Uruguay will take on Italy for its second pool match, emboldened by a feisty effort in front of their president, Luis Lacalle Pou.