Rugby World Cup 2003
Jauzion hat-trick helps France to 61-18 win over Fiji
October 11, 2003
Christophe Dominici dives past the Fijian defence to score
© Getty Images
Yannick Jauzion claimed a hat-trick of tries as France opened their World Cup campaign with a convincing win over Fiji in Brisbane. Christophe Dominici crossed twice and Imanol Harinordoquy and Raphael Ibanez also went over as an indisciplined Fiji side were worn down. Reliable kicker Frederic Michalak finished with 26 points.
Fiji's brightest moment was a scorching try from Rupeni Caucaunibuca which brought them back within six points early in the second half. The game took some time to come to life but Fiji drew first blood with a Nicky Little penalty after four minutes.
Michalak responded two minutes later and then gave France the lead with a second penalty soon after. He was inches wide from adding a third kick after 15 minutes and Fiji made France pay by grabbing the game's opening try.
A poor kick by Aurelien Rougerie was gathered by Aisea Tuilevu and his superb pass sent Api Naevo charging over. The Pacific Islanders were undone by their own indiscipline, however, as they then allowed Michalak two more penalty shots to put France back in front.
Further cracks then began to appear and the French claimed two tries in the closing minutes of the first half. A fluent move released Dominici down the left for their first before a driving maul pushed Harinordoquy in for another.
Michalak added one of the conversions to send France in at the break with a comfortable 24-8 lead. But the game was not over as Fiji roared back into contention after the restart with Caucaunibuca's scintillating effort. After Little had cut the deficit with his second penalty, Caucaunibuca took a floated pass inside his own half and sped away down the left to score.
He stepped outside Rougerie and inside Nicolas Brusque as he charged towards the posts for a score Little easily converted. But Fiji again let themselves down as they conceded three more penalties. Michalak landed two of them to increase the French lead to 30-18.
Jauzion then appeared to put the game beyond Fiji as he linked well with Tony Marsh and sprinted away to score. Fiji began to let their frustrations get the better of them and an unseemly scuffle broke out which left Serge Betsen requiring treatment for a cut head. Arms and fists flew in the melee and Olivier Magne and Caucaunibuca were both eventually sin-binned for their involvement.
France added to their tally and claimed a bonus point when Jauzion again linked with Marsh to claim his side's fourth try. The centre completed his hat-trick seven minutes from time when he latched onto a Dominici pass. Raphael Ibanez and Dominici then wrapped up the win with further tries late on.
France: Brusque, Rougerie, Jauzion, Marsh, Dominici, Michalak, Galthie, Harinordoqui, Magne, Betsen, Thion, Pelous, Poux, Ibanez, Crenca.
Replacements: Elhorga for Rougerie (57), Traille for Jauzion (78), Merceron for Michalak (77), Labit for Magne (74), Brouzet for Pelous (70).
Not Used: Bru, Milloud.
Tries: Dominici 2, Harinordoqui, Jauzion 3, Ibanez.
Cons: Michalak 4.
Pens: Michalak 6.
Sin Bin: Magne (65).
Fiji: Ligairi, Delasau, Tuilevu, Rabeni, Caucaunibuca, Little, Rauluni, Doviverata, Salawa, Koyamaibole, Naevo, Rawaqa, Vetayaki, Smith, Nyholt.
Replacements: Serevi for Ligairi (58), Numibaka for Delasau (68), Rabaka for Rauluni (79), Sewabu for Salawa (57), Leawere for Naevo (69), Seru for Vetayaki (66).
Not Used: Gadolo.
Tries: Naevo, Caucaunibuca.
Pens: Little 2.
Sin Bin: Caucaunibuca (65).
Ref: Alain Rolland (Ireland).