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World Cup week 2: Tier 1 nations show their true colours

By Lucky Maree

➤ France take their foot off the pedal – again!

France may not have wanted the world to know this – or maybe they didn’t know it themselves – but Les Bleus has a serious problem with their second team.

It must be a worry for coach Fabien Galthié that France depends so much on scrumhalf Antoine Dupont.

On Thursday against Uruguay, France looked nothing like a World Cup winning side. They spluttered to a 27-12, three try win and missed out on the bonus point.

Scrumhalf Maxime Lucu played a perfectly good game, but he isn’t Antoine Dupont and the team, weaker side or not, did not impress. If France had to depend on any of their second string players during a crunch game, they are going to struggle.

And once again, France took their foot off the pedal.

Since the very first match against the All Blacks, they seem to fall asleep for 15 to 20 minutes during matches. Not playing the full 80 minutes can become a habit. It’s a mindset. They need to start playing the full 80 minutes of every match – or they might find themselves running out of steam when it matters.

New Zealand know how to score tries

New Zealand ran in 11 tries against Namibia and that’s at a rate of about one try every seven minutes.

When the All Blacks get going they simply can’t stop scoring. In the old days they did it against top tier teams – these days they do it against the weaker teams.

It’s not easy to get positives from a lopsided game like this, but one bright light for New Zealand was the performance of Cameron Roigard on scrumhalf in only his second international match. Besides scoring two tries he managed the game like a seasoned pro. He looks like a worthy replacement for Aaron Smith.

Ireland marches on

Arrogant, brash, but brilliant Johnny Sexton had a dream return to the match arena. He ran the team like a circus master and scored a try just before he was replaced at halftime. Even coach Andy Farrell, the man who hides behind his own iron mask, was seen smiling – but only briefly.

If there are weaknesses in this side, they are not easy to find.

Wales score a bonus point try – but only just

While Wales managed a four try win, the honours go to the men from Portugal who celebrated their one precious try as if they had just won the World Cup. And why not?

Wales? Well they did what they always do. They almost came to life – but didn’t. No surprises there.

France (3 tries) 27-12 (2 tries) Uruguay

New Zealand (11 tries) 71-3 (0 tries) Georgia

Ireland (8 tries) 59-16 (1 try) Tonga

Wales (3 tries) 28-8 (1 try) Portugal

Pictured above: Johnny Sexton celebrates Ireland’s win

Image source: Twitter