France vs Russia – USA Sevens Rugby
31 - 7
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Pool ASam Boyd Stadium03/03/201812:14 PM2018 USA Sevens

Despite losing to Fiji in the second match, France’s victory over Kenya meant that a win over Russia would likely mean advancing into the quarterfinal as the second seed from Pool A, depending on the result of Kenya v. Fiji to follow.

Despite France having everything to play for and Russia very little, the first three minutes were entirely played in the French half. With 3:48 left in the half, France looked dead set to cross midfield but yielded a penalty less than a meter shy of the mark. It took the better part of five minutes, but Russia finally made France pay for the failure to cross midfield when Yury Gostyuzhev touched down in the left corner. Sergei Ianiushkin played the wind perfectly for the conversion, making it 7–0 when the restart came with the clock showing 1:12.

This time, France was finally able to find space and crossed midfield eighteen seconds later, was Jean Pascal Barraque gallped down the pitch. Paulin Riva’s kick from the right touchline into the wind leveled the match at 7. Unfortunately for France, the series of play was not all positive, as Sacha Valleau lay on the pitch for an extended-period of time. Fortunately, Valleau was able to exit on his own just before halftime.

The final restart before the hooter went directly to touch, giving Russia a free kick and a chance to retake the lead going into halftime. Neither team could break the deadlock before intermission.

A penalty against Russia in attempting to collect the restart, gave France prime position to grab a first lead of the contest, which is precisely what Pierre Gilles Lakafia did for his squad. The two-points were not added, making it 12–7 at the restart. But France managed to extend the lead before Russia could respond, when Barraque posted his second score. He also added the conversion, stretching the lead to 19–7.

France’s Jean Baptiste Mazoue came agonizingly close to scoring France’s fourth try with 2:15 to go, but contact in the tackle managed to jostle the ball free right before he could apply the necessary pressure to ground it. But that did not prevent the score, as a penalty try was awarded, making ti 26–7 and leaving Russia with a yellow card. Playing with the advantage, France blew the match open with a try from Gabin Villiere to make it 31–7, which is where the match stood at full time.