UPDATE 2-Rugby-Michalak helps France to hat-trick with Samoa win

* Ruthless Michalak scores try and 14 penalty points

* France consolidate fourth place in IRB rankings

* French captain says Samoa toughest of November tests (Adds Saint Andre quote)

PARIS, Nov 24 (Reuters) - France completed a treble of November victories when a ruthless performance by Frederic Michalak helped them beat Samoa 22-14 at the Stade de France on Saturday.

In a match locked firmly in a battle between forwards, flyhalf Michalak scored a try and kicked 14 points as Les Bleus added to their victories against Australia and Argentina.

The victory also helps France to consolidate fourth place in the IRB rankings ahead of the 2015 World Cup draw.

Samoa's power troubled France throughout the match with David Lemi and Joe Tekori scoring tries, both of which were converted by Tusi Pisi.

"Mission accomplished," France manager Philippe Saint Andre told a news conference. "The goal was to win all three matches and it's done.

"Today is the victory of courage, sacrifice, solidarity. We did not panic when we conceded the second try. We were disciplined."

Stand out performer Michalak told French TV channel France 2: "We knew it would be hard, they shook us pretty hard and dominated in the scrum and on the line-outs,"

"They are quite unpredictable but we knew they'd crack towards the end."

France captain Pascal Pape said Samoa was the toughest match of the three Tests they had played in November after their 33-6 win against Australia and 39-22 defeat of Argentina.

"We don't panic anymore, we have confidence in our own strength. We like to suffer together," he said.

Suffer was exactly what France did against a Samoan team full of strong units, who showed they can compete with the biggest outfits in the world, in terms of power and play.

ERRORS COSTLY

The visitors, who beat Canada and Wales before travelling to France, were 10-7 down at halftime but led briefly in the second half until Michalak made the most of a mistake with his boot.

Samoa made a solid start by destroying the French in an early scrum and in the 15th minute had the lead when Robert Lilomaiava tapped the ball smartly into the path of Lemi who grounded between the posts unchallenged.

Michalak responded for France when he charged down a clearance and made a beeline for the posts, slotting home the resulting conversion to make it 7-7.

Scrumhalf Morgan Parra then missed a routine penalty before making up for the miss two minutes later to give France a slender three-point lead at halftime.

Samoa's pure strength forced a second try as lock Tekori touched down, but credit also went to Kahn Fotuali'i who got the visitors within inches of the line thanks to a speedy break.

France, who won all their November tests for the first time since 2005, were far too clumsy as Samoa fought bravely to hold on to their lead.

However, a scrum infringement gave Michalak a penalty opportunity which he slotted to get France back to within one point.

Les Bleus regained the lead thanks to another Michalak penalty 10 minutes from time and he finally wrapped up the win when he sent through his fourth penalty after Taiasina Tuifua went off his feet at the ruck. (Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Mark Pangallo)

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