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France overpower Japan in first Test in Aichi

By AAP
Players of Japan and France shake hands after the rugby international test match between Japan and France at Toyota Stadium on July 02, 2022 in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

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Winger Damian Penaud has scored two tries as France put together a strong second-half performance for a commanding 42-23 victory over Japan in the first Test at the Toyota Stadium in Aichi.

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The two countries were level at 13-13 at halftime after a sprightly first-half display by the hosts but the strength and fitness of the French proved decisive in the second period in swelteringly hot and humid conditions which dictated several water breaks.

Penaud took his international try tally to 18 but it was the triumphant return of flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert after serious injury that marked the French success.

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A thigh tear had kept the 23-year-old out of the team for the past eight months but he reminded spectators of his class in setting up two of the five French tries.

Fullback Melvyn Jaminet added 17 points from his boot.

The two countries meet again next Saturday in the second Test in Tokyo.

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