France have geared up for next weekend’s eagerly-awaited clash with New Zealand by labouring to a 41-15 victory over Georgia in Bordeaux.
Les Bleus lacked their usual precision but prevailed on Sunday thanks to six tries – two each by flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert and hooker Peato Mauvaka, one from winger Damian Penaud and a penalty try – with fullback Melvyn Jaminet kicking the rest of the points.
Georgia responded with a Davit Niniashvili penalty, tries by Vasil Lobzhanidze and Akaki Tabutsadze and a conversion by Tedo Abzhandadze.
Georgia resisted for half an hour but their ill-discipline cost them dear, although France failed to impress a week after an unconvincing 29-20 win over Argentina.
“The result is more than satisfactory, we scored 40 points. Obviously, the copy is not perfect. We spent a lot of time in their half without being able to score at the beginning but we were never in trouble,” said captain Antoine Dupont.
“It was good to give everyone some playing time. Every time, the finishers bring a lot to the table. It’s positive for the future.”
France started well but lacked focus and had only Jaminet’s penalty to show for their early dominance.
Niniashvili levelled midway through the opening half despite Georgia being down to 14 men after Tedo Abzhandadze was sin-binned for a high tackle.
Les Bleus were awarded a penalty try when Giorgi Melikidze collapsed a maul near the tryline and he picked up a yellow card as France opened a 10-3 lead.
Jalibert found space after a lineout to ground the ball near the posts, set up by Romain Ntamack in a sign that their partnership was starting to gel.
It looked virtually over before halftime when Penaud went over after a quick release by Dupont to find Gael Fickou, who set up the winger for his 11th international try.
Hooker Julien Marchand was replaced by Mauvaka after sustaining a rib injury and props Cyril Baille and Uini Atonio were replaced by Jean-Baptiste Gros and Demba Bamba early in the second half.
Georgia pulled a try back through Lobzhanidze but Les Bleus struck again when Mauvaka finished off strong work by their pack.
The visitors reduced the arrears again with Tabutsadze diving over on the right wing, only for Penaud to score his second at the end of quick attack from a lineout.
Georgia had nothing left in the tank and conceded another try in the dying seconds when Mauvaka grounded the ball again after being carried over the line by the dominant French pack.