Host nation France surged to a 27-12 victory over Uruguay 27-12 in their second Pool A match to get an inch closer to the quarterfinals of the 2023 Rugby World Cup on Friday.
Les Bleus made a quick start to the match in the second minute thanks to Melvyn Jaminet’s penalty for a 3-0 lead.
However, three minutes later, close to 49,000-crowd were stunned into silence as Uruguay winger Nicolas Freitas caught Felipe Etcheverry’s cross-kick to score in their first appearance of the tournament but the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
France’s fervent atmosphere was rewarded when they responded with a try to Antoine Hastoy from a set-piece move.
Jaminet converted and booted a penalty for a 13-5 lead in the 16th minute before they were reduced to 14 players when lock Romain Taofifenua was sent to the sin bin on his 33rd birthday for a high tackle on Uruguay’s Santiago Arata, which was not upgraded by the bunker before the break.
France could have again made an early start but Jaminet missed a penalty while Uruguay made a strong comeback in the match when full-back Baltazar Amaya crossed and Etcheverry’s conversion made it 13-12 with 26 minutes to play.
The Los Teros’ aspirations of a shock result was short lived, when France’s substitute hooker Peato Mauvaka restored their breathing space and Jaminet converted to further their lead to 20-12.
With eight minutes left, Bielle-Biarrey dived over in the corner to ensure France the win and Jaminet slotted the conversion before the TMO denied Sekou Macalou what would have been a bonus-point try with three minutes to play.