France got their November series off to a perfect start with a 52-8 win over Samoa in Toulouse on Saturday.
Les Bleus scored seven tries to Samoa’s one to extend their unbeaten run over the Island nation after three previous meetings all ending in a French triumph.
France ran the bewildered Samoans ragged as they produced some excellent running rugby. The Samoans tried to match them, but could not quite replicate their European rivals.
The half-time score was indicative of the flow of the game as it ended 26-3 to the hosts.
Wesley Fofana and Virimi Vakatawa produced impeccable performances, with the former seemingly involved in every try, while the latter bagged a hat-trick of tries.
Samoa drew first blood when Patrick Fa’apale struck a penalty to gain the early lead after France were pinged for holding on at the breakdown.
But the rest of the half was all France, their dominance ignited by the combination of a Maxime Machenaud penalty and a Vakatawa try two minutes later. The French pulled off an incredible move led by Fofana, swinging wide to the big winger who broke through the Samoan defence to score.
Ten minutes later France produced a breakaway try after Fofana pulled off a fantastic offload to Yuget, who had plenty of space to easily burn the cover defence and dot down for the five-pointer.
Their next try came three minutes later through replacement Charles Ollivon as the Toulon back-row barged through the Samoan defence.
Samoa showed that they weren’t down yet though, putting the ball through the hands in the third minute of the second half as David Lemi and Jack Lam did well in the build-up before Rey Lee-Lo got over for their first try of the game, making the score 26-8 to the hosts.
France then nabbed their third try of the game when they attacked from a lineout. Ollivon breached Samoa’s defence with a superb angled run before offloading to Gaël Fickou who got over for a deserved five-pointer.
Fofana then made another superb break and offloaded to Huget, who got the pass out to Vakatawa to outpace Paul Perez before diving over in the corner.
Two late scores were still to come, as after continual penalties France’s attacking maul were rewarded with a penalty try.
Vakatawa then scored his third try when he found himself in the clear and showed the defence a clean pear of heels before going over, wrapping up a big victory.
For France: 52
Tries: Huget, Vakatawa 3, Ollivon, Fickou
Cons: Machenaud 2, Serin 2
Pens: Machenaud 3
For Samoa: 08
France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Rémi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Loann Goujon, 7 Kévin Gourdon, 6 Louis Picamoles, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Julien Le Devedec, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Guilhelm Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Sébastian Vahaamahina, 19 Charles Ollivon, 20 Baptiste Serin, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Gaël Fickou, 23 Rabah Slimani
Samoa: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Paul Perez, 13 George Pisi, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 David Lemi (c), 10 Patrick Faapale, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Genesis Mamea-Lemalu, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Christopher Vui, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Manu Leaiataua, 1 Zac Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Jeff Lepa, 20 Gregory Foe, 21 Pele Cowley, 22 D’Angelo Leuila, 23 Ken Pisi
Referee: JP Doyle (England)