Rugby World Cup: Frederic Michalak in a league of his own for France in Canada clash
France 41-18 Canada
France combined flair and force in a 41-18 World Cup victory over Canada in Milton Keynes.
Enigmatic fly-half Frederic Michalak was in majestic form, creating one score for Wesley Fofana, who fluffed another opening after some artistry from his team-mate.
The force came from the forwards as hooker Guilhem Guirado, tighthead prop Rabah Slimani and lock Pascal Pape scored close-range tries.
Debutant wing Remy Grosso added a fifth score, while Michalak finished with an immaculate 14-point haul off the kicking tee.
The 2011 runners-up have a 100 per cent record of three wins from three games in Pool D and next play Ireland on October 11, with top spot in the pool and a more favourable quarter-final draw likely at stake. Ireland first play Italy on Sunday.
It was not always straightforward for Les Bleus. The Canucks' gutsy performance was rewarded with tries from DTH van der Merwe and Aaron Carpenter, but there was to be no repeat of their solitary win over France, 21 years ago, at the ninth attempt.
Canada play Romania in Leicester next Tuesday, seeking to sign off from the tournament with a win.
The game was little more than three minutes old when Michalak darted down the blindside, evaded two would-be tacklers and then passed out of the back of his hand. Fofana was on his shoulder to score.
Fofana later let the ball bounce through his hands when presented with another chance.
Canada lost captain Tyler Ardron and full-back Harry Jones to injury in the first-half, but kept themselves in contention early in the second as Nathan Hirayama kicked two penalties. But that was as good as it got.
Les Bleus showed further brute force as Pape barged over and Michalak converted.
Canada had Nanyak Dala sin-binned late on and Grosso touched down in the corner. Morgan Parra converted to complete a resounding win.
France: Tries: Guitoune 2, Nyanga, Fofana, Fickou; Cons: Parra 3, Kockott 2. Pens: Parra.
France: Dulin, Guitoune, Fickou, Fofana, Nakaitaci, Tales, Parra, Debaty, Szarzewski, Atonio, Le Roux, Flanquart, Nyanga, Ouedraogo, Picamoles; Replacements: Kockott for Parra (67), Ben Arous for Debaty (68), Kayser for Szarzewski (50), Mas for Atonio (50), Chouly for Picamoles (50).
Not Used: Maestri, Michalak, Bastareaud.
Romania: Tries: Radoi. Pens: Vlaicu 2.
Romania: Fercu, Lemnaru, Kinikinilau, Vlaicu, Apostol, Dumbrava, Surugiu, Lazar, Turashvili, Ion, Popirlan, van Heerden, V. Ursache, Lucaci, Macovei; Replacements: Botezatu for Apostol (78), Gal for Dumbrava (47), Calafeteanu for Surugiu (75), A. Ursache for Lazar (72), Radoi for Turashvili (59), Pungea for Ion (80), Tonita for Popirlan (71), Burcea for Lucaci (79).
Sin Bin: Ion (30).
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa).