France showed their superiority as they defeated the Blues 38-15 in Albany
Last Updated: 11/06/13 12:53pm
France's Gael Fickou scored the opening try of the game just after half-time
France powered to a 38-15 win over the Blues in a historic midweek fixture in Albany.
The Blues became the first New Zealand Super Rugby outfit to play an international fixture against a touring side, but they succumbed to defeat as they were unable to match the French power up front.
Following their 23-13 defeat to New Zealand, France made 14 changes to their starting line-up with the sole survivor Maxime Medard shifted from the wing to full-back.
Antonie Claassen and Bernard Le Roux were handed debuts and the South African-born duo were part of a forward pack that dominated the Blues from start to finish. The superiority of the French forwards led to scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain being able to send over four first half penalties to give Les Bleus a 12-3 half-time advantage.
Philippe Saint-Andre's side started the second period brilliantly and scored the game's first try in the 45th minute through Gael Fickou. Doussain converted it well from the touchline to extend their lead to 16 points.
Clermont winger Noa Nakaitaci went over twice in the next ten minutes, first after some neat combination play between Fickou and Medard and then skipping beyond the Blues' George Moala to power across the line as France stretched into a 31-3 advantage.
The Blues responded well and two tries, either side of the hour mark, brought some respectability to the score line. First captain James Parsons and then left wing Moala went over as the hosts reduced the deficit to 16.
It was France who would have the final say, however, as a rolling maul resulted in replacement Benjamin Kayser touching down to complete a comfortable victory.