France head coach Fabien Galthie on Thursday said that Uruguay had made the Rugby World Cup hosts “uncomfortable” in a 27-12 win in Lille.
Les Bleus failed to claim a bonus point and needed a 73rd-minute try from youngster Louis Bielle-Biarrey to make sure of a second victory at the tournament.
“The players were frustrated in the changing room. We will try and understand the points to improve,” Galthie told reporters. “We had a France team that was nervous, who were trying too hard. We were made uncomfortable by Uruguay, but we still won and we’re still satisfied.”
Galthie had made 12 changes from last week’s competition-opening win over New Zealand. No. 8 Anthony Jelonch took over the captaincy from Antoine Dupont in his first game since suffering a serious knee injury in late February.
“I was a bit apprehensive in the first hits, but I quickly got into my stride and I felt liberated,” Jelonch said. “It was a difficult match, they [Uruguay] were very keen, they were very aggressive and made it hard for us.”
The France scrum, coached by former hooker William Servat, was penalized often by referee Ben O’Keeffe, but Galthie refused to comment on the New Zealander’s officiating.
They lost four of their 14 scrums with Galthie changing five of his pack with half an hour to play in attempt to improve matters.
“I don’t want to speak about refereeing,” Galthie said. “It’s such an important part of the game. The scrum was rewarded at times and punished at others. We’ll got back to basis and look for improvements with William.”
Galthie’s side conceded 16 penalties against Los Teros, 11 more than against the All Blacks.
“It’s a huge number,” lock Cameron Woki said. “It almost unacceptable at international level. You could say we were lucky to win the game. It’s a shame. We wanted to show something else.”
Next up for France on Thursday next week are Namibia in Marseille before they end their pool-stage campaign versus Italy on Oct. 6.
With two wins from two they are in line to reach the quarter-finals, despite failing to claim a bonus point against Uruguay, ranked 17th in the world.
“There are a lot of things to look at, but we will keep the victory in mind,” France flyhalf Antoine Hastoy said. “We have to get back to work, it’s a World Cup, we know how it is. We play again in a week, but we have to put things right.”
Uruguay have played a leading rugby nation just once, Italy, since the last World Cup, when they stunned Fiji.
Head coach Esteban Meneses called for further exposure against leading teams.
“If we were able to play more competitions, I think we will continue to improve. It’s the way forward,” Meneses said.
“Today, Uruguay expressed ourselves, we showed our colors. I really believe being on an equal footing with France at a World Cup shows the quality in the side,” he said.
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