Rugby France beat Tonga to set up England showdown

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Rugby France celebrate with fans at the final whistle

France’s players celebrated with the fans at the final whistle
2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B
France (17) 23
Tries:Vakatawa, RakaCons:Ntamack (2)Pens:Ntamack (3)
Tonga: (7) 21
Tries: Takulua, Hingano, KapeliCons:Takulua (2), Fosita

France will play England to decide who tops Pool C on Saturday after they finally subdued a battling Tonga.

France put in a characteristically fitful display – racing into a 17-point lead before being reeled in, then rallying before a late Tonga try set up a frantic finale.

However, Damian Penaud reclaimed Camille Lopez’s restart to end the underdogs’ hopes of snatching a win.

Pool C’s winners will face the runners-up in Pool D in the last eight.

Australia look the most likely to finish second in Pool D, while Wales will top that group if they can negotiate matches against Uruguay and Fiji.

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France head coach Jacques Brunel said his side would “need to go back to basics” before facing England to determine who will top the pool.

“We wanted a bigger scoreline but because of handling errors we were not able to achieve that,” he said.

Those comments were echoed by stand-in captain Jefferson Poirot, who said his side “have a lot of work to do”.

“England are tough and we know how difficult it will be,” he said.

France make it three from three

France, with a third different half-back combination in as many matches, started the game at a canter as powerful centre Virimi Vakatawa went over from Alivereti Raka’s one-handed pass.

When scrum-half Baptiste Serin spotted a unmarked Raka and the chance to tap and go for a second score, Jacques Brunel’s side were 17-0 up after 35 minutes.

But, just as in their opening match against A

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