France hold on to beat Tonga 23-21 and reach Rugby World Cup quarter-finals

France hold on to beat Tonga 23-21 and reach Rugby World Cup quarter-finals

Written by Reuters

06 Oct, 2019 | 7:20 pm

Reuters – France weathered a Tongan storm to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a nail-biting 23-21 victory over the Pacific islanders in Kumamoto, Japan on Sunday (October 6), joining Pool C rivals England in the last eight and ending Argentina’s slim hopes of progressing.

Early tries from backs Virimi Vakatawa and Alivereti Raka helped give France a 17-0 lead but Tonga crossed twice in seven minutes around the breakthrough scrumhalf Sonatane Takulua and centre Malietoa Hingano to cut the lead to three points.

France thought they had taken a 28-14 lead with 13 minutes remaining when Damian Penaud crossed the line, but video showed that Maxime Medard had knocked the ball forward earlier in the move and the score was disallowed.

Tonga flanker Zane Kapeli scored Tonga’s third try in the last minute, but there was insufficient time left for them to snatch victory.

Les Bleus now head north to Yokohama for next Saturday’s (October 12) clash with England to decide which nation tops the pool.

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