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Brunel joy as France reach quarters

France 23 Tonga 21

By Mark Peters

France secured their place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a 23-21 victory over Tonga at the Kumamoto Stadium.

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France will now face a shootout with England on Saturday to determine who will finish top of Pool C.

Virimi Vakatawa and Alivereti Raka went over for tries for France, with Romain Ntamack booting 13 points.

Sonatane Takulua, Malietoa Hingano and Zane Kapeli crossed for the Tonga tries.

France head coach Jacques Brunel said: "Today it was different to do what we wanted to do. It was quite a hard game.

"The most important thing is that we got our ticket to the quarter-finals, so I'm happy about that."

France No.8 Gregory Alldritt added: "It's been a really, really tough game against really physical players but we are in the quarter-finals and we are really happy with that."

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Tonga once again suffered a sluggish start after doing likewise in earlier pool losses to England and Argentina.

Their coach Toutai Kefu said: "Definitely frustrated, again we didn't get off to the best of starts and that probably told in the end.

"The guys dug in there, there was a period in the second half when the game was in the balance and the guys hung in and hung in. You can't question their effort.

"We coaches talked about it straight away, post-game. Maybe we warm up for too long. It's something we need to look at.

"It's probably just a mental thing, because as you can see, we finished the game really well.

"We regret starting poorly. If we had started better, we might have won the game."

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