Dream debut: Vincent Clerc scored three tries in his RWC debut

TOULOUSE, 16 September - France have delighted their fans with an 87-10 victory over a 14-man Namibia in Sunday's Pool D match at Le Stade.

It was France's biggest-ever victory in an international, eclipsing their 77-10 win over Fiji in 2001.

In a fitting tribute to Namibia's never-say-die attitude, their centre Bratley Langenhoven crossed for the final try that cut France's winning margin to 77 points in the 13-tries-to-one victory.

Wing Vincent Clerc bagged a hat-trick of tries on his RWC debut, while cult figure Sébastien Chabal and Lionel Nallet each scored two tries for France, who made 12 changes to their starting XV following their 17-12 opening match loss to Argentina.

Irish referee Alain Rolland gave Jacques Nieuwenhuis a red card in the 19th minute after the Namibia number 8 caught Chabal (FRA) around the neck. 

Namibia trailed 40-3 at halftime, with their only points coming from fly half Emile Wessels' drop goal in the 10th minute after wing Cédric Heymans had scored France's first try of the tournament three minutes earlier.

The French wasted their opportunities after Nieuwenhuis was sent off but soon clicked into gear, scoring 82 unanswered points before Namibia got their first and only try of the match in the dying seconds.

Chabal scored his tries in the space of five minutes early in the second half before scrum half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, stand-in captain for the rested Raphaël Ibanez, crossed in the 56th minute.

Clerc claimed the next two tries and flanker Thierry Dusautoir crossed four minutes before fulltime to cap a memorable performance by France.

RNS djp/sek