France coach Jacques Brunel said qualification was his side’s main goal after they secured a World Cup quarter-final place with a narrow 23-21 victory over Tonga in Pool C.
The Pacific Islanders fought back from a 17-point deficit, scoring two second-half tries, but Les Bleus were able to hold on for the win to maintain their 100 per cent record in the tournament.
Speaking after the game, Brunel said, reported by the national rugby website: “What matters tonight is the qualification.
“That was our first goal: it was not easy. There were stages to pass. We passed them: sometimes with difficulty – but we passed them. The first thing to secure, is the qualification, which fully satisfied us.”
'The travel makes it difficult so, much as I’d like to go, I will be staying in Japan'https://t.co/8ctgbHLVNX
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 6, 2019
On the game he added: “They attacked the game well, had some good chances to score in the first half.
“We wanted to make a better copy. There is still work (to do).”
Tonga have yet to win a match at the tournament so far, but coach Toutai Kefu said he was proud of his side’s efforts.
“We haven’t started games well and it’s definitely an issue for us,” Kefu said.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 6, 2019
“But I’m definitely proud of what happened after that – the way they stuck in there and put us in a position to maybe win.
“I’m always proud of the boys, the sacrifices they make just to turn up and endure what they endure on tour.”
Watch: Don’t mess with Jim
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.