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Perrett treble sinks France
November 1, 2009 - 7:07AM
France 12 New Zealand 62
Toulouse: Sydney Roosters winger Sam Perrett bagged a hat-trick to help New Zealand thrash France 62-12 on Saturday to give the Kiwis their first Four Nations win.
New Zealand raced into a ten point lead through skipper Benji Marshall and Perrett before France hit back thanks to Sebastien Martins’s maiden try.
World Cup hero Lance Hohaia and France’s Australian-born James Wynne exchanged scores either side of the break as the hosts kept their hopes alive.
But Perrett, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Frank-Paul Nuuausala led a succession of second-half tries to eventually put the underdogs to the sword as the world champions, held 20-20 by Australia last week, proved too strong.
With talismanic duo Dimitri Pelo and Clint Greenshields amongst a host of French players sidelined through swine flu and injury the hosts were always expected to struggle.
Yet they started the brighter and when former Newcastle Knights man Wynne broke the tackle and fed the ball wide, Nicolas Piquemal came within inches of touching down.
But French hopes looked dashed in the first New Zealand attack when hooker Thomas Leuluai burst clear to lay-off for skipper Marshall to wander over and put the first points on the board.
Within three minutes of the re-start Marshall was probing again and after Frank Pritchard and Fuifui Moimoi were denied, Nathan Fien chipped the ball into the corner for Perrett to collect and score.
Bryson Goodwin dragged his first conversion attempt wide but managed to curl his second inside the posts to put the Kiwis 10-0 up.
Undeterred, Wynne, a former understudy to Australia half-back Andrew Johns, combined with New Zealand-born Kane Bentley to send Martins over for his first French try in the 23rd minute.
Thomas Bosc converted to reduce the score further and after Perrett knocked-on over the line the French could smell an upset.
The hosts produced three consecutive sets of six inside the New Zealand 22 but after Wynne was halted five-yards short of the line, Isaac Luke scampered clear and World Cup hero Hohaia grabbed his eighth Kiwi try.
Goodwin made no mistake with the conversion to send the world champions in 16-6 up at the break.
Yet any hopes they had of pulling away in the final 40 minutes appeared to be dashed when Bosc’s kick was fumbled in defence and Wynne downed the ball.
Bosc slotted over the extras from in front of the posts to peg the Kiwis back at 12-16.
New Zealand eventually turned up the heat and after a sustained period of pressure Hohaia and Fien combined to send Perrett in at the corner in the 53rd minute.
Goodwin converted and after collecting the kick-off Perrett dug the ball out just short of the line to allow Waerea-Hargreaves to cross within two minutes.
With their hopes of a famous win snuffed out, France began to cave in and Nuuausala drove over before Hohaia sprinted the full length of the field to score on the hour.
Goodwin converted both tries before Perrett flicked the ball unselfishly out the back of his hand for Junior Sa’u to extend the lead.
Perrett did then grab his third try of the night before Goodwin and Waerea-Hargreaves rounded off the scoring.
NEW ZEALAND 62 (S Perrett 3 L Hohaia 2 J Waerea-Hargraves 2 B Goodwin B Marshall F Nuuausala J Sau tries B Goodwin 9 goals) bt FRANCE 12 (S Martins J Wynne tries T Bosc 2 goals) at Stade Ernest Wallon. Referee: Shayne Hayne. Crowd: 12,500.
France are awful. If we play well against them, we’ll run 70 through them. Although I was glad to see Sam Perrett bag 3, he’s one player who didn’t deserve to go through that nonsense at the Roosters this year, one of the few players there I felt sorry for.