Still rueing missed chances against Italy, Canada has little time to regroup ahead of what could be a long night Thursday against seventh-ranked France at the Rugby World Cup. “The guys are looking forward and they will be ready”.
Bernard Le Roux shifts from second-row to openside flanker and the Racing Metro backrower is joined in the backrow by Damien Chouly and captain Thierry Dusatoir. “We are not playing our best rugby yet”.
The boys do it week-in week-out for their clubs yet when they get into that same scenario on the global stage they revert to what seems to be England’s default position of trying to see the game out.
The out-half waltzed his way beyond two tacklers before dinking a brilliant kick with his weaker left foot over the Canada defence for the onrushing Fofana, who knocked on. “We’re proud and excited to have the Uruguayan team here during the Rugby World Cup and hope they enjoy the facilities and their time at Moulton College”.
That is what I think former England skipper Will Carling was driving at when he suggested today’s team operate a “classroom-orientated environment” in which the players are told what to think.
Michalak went off near the end and was replaced by Morgan Parra – a mainstay from the 2011 squad – who then helped to set up winger Remy Grosso for a try on his test debut as Canada played the last 10 minutes with 14 players after Nanyak Dala was sin-binned.
Despite it being a fifth straight win for France, Saint-Andre will be seeking answers as to why his team switched off in the first half.
Michalak, who made his last RBS 6 Nations appearance in 2013, was at the heart of a fast French start as Wesley Fofana and Guilhem Guirado both crossed for tries and it appeared Les Bleus were going to run away with it.
“The first 30 minutes were high quality”.
“We play a pretty exciting brand of rugby”, Ardron said. “But these things happen in rugby”, said Canadian head coach Kieran Crowley of Mill Bay.
Just when you thought there would be a repeat of Philippe Saint Andre’s half-time rant from the Romania game, Rabah Slimani got over the whitewash from another well-worked maul to ease the pressure.
It looked like France were in the mood but no-one told Canada as they went about tearing up the script with two tries in four blistering minutes.
The fourth try was proving elusive until the French again opted against a shot at goal in favour of an attacking lineout.
It wasn’t just Michalak’s kicking on display here, it was his passing too.
Within four minutes they had their first try, Michalak shrugging off a couple of weak tackles and releasing out the back of his hand for Fofana to march over.
The fly-half deservedly drew the Canadians within a converted try of the French, slotting over another penalty as the clock ticked over into the 55th minute.