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France survive Japan scare

France survived an almighty scare to eventually prevail 47-21 over Japan in their Pool A opener at North Harbour Stadium.

It had all been going according to plan for Marc Lievremont's side at the break as tries from Julien Pierre, Francois Trinh-Duc and Vincent Clerc opened up a 25-11 advantage.

But Japan, for whom James Arlidge had registered a try and two penalties, launched a stunning fightback. Former Newport Gwent Dragons man Arlidge knocked over another penalty and cut through for his second five-pointer to put the Cherry Blossoms within four points before France hit back late on.

Lievremont's blushes were spared as Dimitri Yachvili, who ended with 17 points, kicked his third penalty and Lionel Nallet, Pascal Pape and Morgan Parra crossed late on as Japan tired.

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