France 52-8 Samoa: Virimi Vakatawa scores hat-trick
Last Updated: 12/11/16 6:59pm
Virimi Vakatawa ran in a hat-trick as France beat Samoa 52-8 in their opening autumn international in Toulouse.
Tougher challenges await Guy Noves' side in the shape of Australia and New Zealand, but there was cause for encouragement as some flowing rugby was rewarded with seven tries, three of them for Fiji-born Vakatawa and another for the returning Yoann Huget.
Huget, last seen in a France shirt when he suffered a serious knee injury in their opening World Cup game last year, crossed on a night when the only blot was a serious arm injury to fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc.
Vakatawa's opening try, in particular, was a beauty as a Wesley Fofana-inspired move saw the ball worked wide for the wing to steamroll his way over.
That gave France the lead after an early exchange of penalties, and the game was effectively sewn up with two scores inside five minutes towards the end of the first half.
Fofana's offload gave Huget his comeback try before Charles Ollivon, an early replacement for Loann Goujon, went over out wide.
Maxime Machenaud's boot meant France's half-time lead was 26-3 but it quickly reduced by five after the restart as Ray Lee-Lo crossed for Samoa.
That was as good as it got for the tourists as Gael Fickou scored after good work from the France lineout, while Fofana and Scott Spedding teed up Vakatawa's second.
A late penalty try followed before Vakatawa's pace gave him a hat-trick and sealed a forgettable day for Samoa, who have now lost all four of their Tests against the French.