France battle past Samoa 22-14 to end 2012 on a high
Last Updated: 24/11/12 7:29pm
Frederic Michalak: His 19-point haul inspired France to a narrow victory
France completed a clean sweep in this year's autumn internationals following a hard-fought 22-14 victory over Samoa at the Stade de France on Saturday.
After convincing victories over Australia and Argentina in recent weeks, Les Bleus were made to work harder than they may have expected in their final match of 2012.
The hosts led 10-7 at half-time after Frederic Michalak's charge-down score cancelled out David Lemi's well-worked opening try for Samoa.
Winger Leimi profited after Census Johnston's chip ahead was collected by Robert Lilomaiava and he offloaded to his fellow wing for the opening try.
The French reply was almost insant, though, as Michalak charged down his opposite number, Tusi Pisi, to race clear and score under the posts.
The Pacific Islanders moved back ahead early in the second period when Joe Tekori stretched over from the base of a ruck to touch down.
But four Michalak penalties in the final 25 minutes were enough to see Les Bleus through to an unconvincing win.
Michalak finished the match with 19 points.