November 15, 2008 / 4:13 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Rugby-France overcome 14-man Pacific Islanders 42-17

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PARIS, Nov 15 (Reuters) - France beat the Pacific Islanders 42-17 in Sochaux on Saturday after the tourists were reduced to 14 men for much of the match.

Referee Nigel Owens sent off winger Napolioni Nalaga in the 18th minute after the Fijian powerhouse, who plays club rugby in France with Clermont Auvergne, knocked out scrumhalf Jean-Baptiste Elissalde with a late and high tackle.

Elissalde left the field on a stretcher but regained consciousness in the dressing room.

“I wasn’t seriously hurt but it was frightening,” he told television channel France 2.

When Nalaga was sent off, the Islanders were leading 6-3 thanks to two penalties from flyhalf Seremaia Bai, who also plays club rugby with Clermont, against one converted by France number 10 David Skrela.

Seven minutes later, the French scored their first try from hooker Dimitri Szarzewski after wing Julien Malzieu broke through the Islanders’ defence.

Skrela converted and France took the lead 10-6, then increased it to 17-6 three minutes later when replacement scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Bordes crossed after Cedric Heymans sidestepped and delivered a well-timed pass.

The Islanders reduced the gap to 17-12 before the break thanks to two more penalties by Bai but the French capitalised on their numerical advantage in the second half.

They ran in three more tries by Heymans, Louis Picamoles and fullback Maxime Medard. Skrela added two more conversions and scored three penalties.

The Islanders scored a face-saving try by Harlequins centre Epi Taione three minutes from time.

France host Australia next weekend at the Stade de France. The Pacific Islanders, who have not won a test since forming in 2004, travel to Italy. (Writing by Jean-Paul Couret in Paris; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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