Bring on the All Blacks, says Laporte

France 64 Georgia 7

The hosts must leave their own country for a quarter-final against New Zealand on Saturday night in Cardiff.

That is their punishment for losing their opening game against Argentina, who finished top of Pool D following a 30-15 defeat of Ireland in Paris.

Laporte, however, sees no reason why Les Bleus cannot go to the Millennium stadium and pull off a famous victory, just as they did at Twickenham in 1999 when they defeated the All Blacks 43-31 at the semi-final stage of the tournament in what is generally renowned as the World Cup’s best game.

Laporte said: “Any quarter final is 50-50 and a one-off match and you have to take your chance as it comes.

“But to rediscover the form of eight years ago would be very useful.

“Of course we would rather be playing in Paris. But to go to Cardiff in no way diminishes our resolve. We have got to produce on the day. We are not going with the idea of it being our last game. There is no point getting upset about it.”

You could not fault Laporte’s side in their 64-7 win over Georgia as they ran in nine tries and picked up the bonus point they would have required to top the group if Argentina had slipped up.

“Mission accomplished,” was how Laporte put it and it would be a brave man who wrote off the French on this form.

They could even have unveiled a new World Cup star as 21-year-old fly-half Lionel Beauxis, starting his first match at this tournament, proved he can step out of the shadows of David Skrela and Frederic Michelak, kicking 19 points and being instrumental in several of the tries.

France came out with their serious heads on at a venue which has been a stronghold down the years with Laporte having made nine changes from the team which beat Ireland.

But it was the form of Beauxis and the power of flankers Serge Betsen and Yannick Nyanga which caught the eye.

The highlight from Beauxis was one wonderful crossfield kick straight into the arms of Christophe Dominici, who jinked around Otar Barkalaia for the game’s best try.

That was the first of two Dominici tries as many of the French players responsible for that opening shock defeat returned to make some amends.

Clement Poitrenaud, Nyanga and David Marty all scored first-half tries.

As well as Dominici’s pair, Sebastien Bruno, Lionel Nallet, Remy Martin and number eight Julienne Bonnaire all crossed for touchdowns.

Beauxis weighed in with three penalties and five conversions with Georgia’s lone reply coming from Zviad Maisuradze, converted by Malkhaz Urjukashvili.

France scorers: Tries: Poitrenaud, Nyanga, Beauxis, Dominici 2, Bruno, Nallet, Martin, Bonnaire. Cons: Beauxis 5. Pens: Beauxis 3.

FRANCE: Poitrenaud, Rougerie, Marty, Jauzion, Dominici, Beauxis, Mignoni, Milloud, Bruno, Poux, Nallet, Thion, Betsen, Nyanga, Bonnaire.

Replacements: Clerc for Poitrenaud (73), Mas for Marty (58), Elissalde for Mignoni (22), Skrela for Bruno (58), Szarzewski for Poux (58), Pelous for Thion (54), Martin for Betsen (64).

Georgia scorers: Tries: Z. Maisuradze. Cons: Urjukashvili.

GEORGIA: Barkalaia, Urjukashvili, Gigauri, I. Guiorgadze, Khamashuridze, Kvirikashvili, Abusseridze, Magrakvelidze, A. Guiorgadze, Zirakashvili, Didebulidze, Mtchedlishvili, I. Maisuradze, Urushadze, Chkhaidze.

Replacements: Eloshvili for Barkalaia (54), Elizbarashvili for Khamashuridze (54), Samkharadze for Abusseridze (31), Datunashvili for Didebulidze (41), Z. Maisuradze for I. Maisuradze (49), Shvelidze for Urushadze (33).

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