French sing with second-string

France 41 United States 14

A team composed entirely of his strategic reserves produced a tight and disciplined performance in the first half before being held by a more committed American side in the second half.

“We have 10 days to prepare for the quarter-finals and I just want to celebrate this win,” said Laporte.

“We learn something from every game and we will take everything into account for the quarter-final.”

Manager Jo Maso backed his boss, saying he was particularly cheered by the efforts of David Bory, who started the match on the left wing despite landing in Australia from France just 48 hours earlier to replace the injured Xavier Garbajosa.

“The result for us wasn’t all that important, but the will to play together was still there and in those terms our objectives were achieved,” said Maso.

“The team played in a positive frame of mind and we have great respect between the players and that’s what we need to win the World Cup.”

Fullback Clement Poitrenaud, who featured in several excellent line breaks, was happy with his own contribution.

“I felt very good, particularly in the first half and I am satisfied overall. When you feel well, when the head is there, when the body goes with the head you can do very good things,” said Poitrenaud.

Meanwhile, American coach Tom Billups saluted his side’s efforts in the second half, which point to a rosy future for rugby in his homeland.

“The French side are a very professional and classy outfit and the guys were playing at the utmost levels of athleticism,” said Billups, who brushed aside suggestions that his side had been hampered by the short break from the Japan match.

“I think the boys are very resilient. All the teams in the pool have had short turnarounds and this just happened to be ours,” he said.

Billups was particularly pleased with the performance of his side over the whole tournament.

“I’m a very proud man and I think we’ve got quite a few young players who showed themselves to be some of the best young players at the tournament,” he said.

France: Poitrenaud, Elhorga, Liebenberg, Traille, Bory, Merceron, Yachvili, Milloud, Bru, Poux, Auradou, Brouzet, Chabal, Tabacco, Labit. Replacements: Ibanez, Marconnet, Thion, Magne, Michalak, Jauzion, Rougerie.

USA: Buchholz, Fee, Eloff, Sika, van Zyl, Hercus, Dalzell, MacDonald, Khasigian, Dorsey, Parker, Gross, Schubert, Hodges, Lyle. Replacements: Wyatt, Waasdorp, Klerck, Gouws, Sherman, Keyter, Timoteo.

Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand).

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