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France beat 14-man Islanders
French run in five tries against man-short tourists
France fended off the 14-man Pacific Islanders 42-17 in an eventful match at Sochaux.
Referee Nigel Owens sent off winger Napolioni Nalaga in the 18th minute after the Fijian powerhouse knocked out Jean-Baptiste Elissalde with a late and high tackle that saw the scrum-half leave the field on a stretcher.
Fortunately for France, Elissalde later came round in the dressing room. But it was worse news for the Islanders.
They were leading 6-3 at the time of the clash thanks to two penalties from fly-half Seremaia Bai, sandwiching one by France number 10 David Skrela.
But after taking ten minutes or so to get used to the numerical advantage, the French then went about making the most of it.
A good offload by Julien Malzieu set up hooker Dimitri Szarzewski to touch down under the posts and Skrela duly added the extras.
Then replacement scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Bordes got his first try for his country before the break while Louis Picamoles, Maxime Medard and man-of-the-match Cedric Heymans all added to the scoreline in the second half, Skrela adding four conversions and three penalties.
Bai kept the Islanders in the chase with a near metronomic boot, and Harlequins centre Epi Taione crossed with three minutes to go to salvage some pride from the outing, but the French were never really in danger thanks to Nalaga's early, costly error.