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78th-minute penalty nets France first win in Australia in 31 years

(Photo by William West/AFP via Getty Images)

France have taken their turn to taste victory with a late penalty securing a 28-26 win over Australia in the second Test in Melbourne. The Wallabies looked like they would repeat their opening Test heroics on Tuesday night, with Noah Lolesio again stepping up to put his side in front at AAMI Park with a penalty in the 75th minute.


But this time Les Bleus wouldn’t be denied, earning a scrum penalty against the feed with two minutes remaining and full-back Melvyn Jaminet kicking his seventh penalty to earn his team their first victory on Australian soil in 31 years.

With one win apiece, this Australia versus France series will be decided on Saturday back at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, the scene of the first Test. While it wasn’t always pretty, the Australians chanced their hands, scoring two tries to one but Jaminet finished with a personal tally of 23 points.

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John Kirwan on why Fiji and Japan must be added to the Rugby Championship
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John Kirwan on why Fiji and Japan must be added to the Rugby Championship

Just like in the first Brisbane Test, the Wallabies let the French skip away to a ten-point lead and were their own worst enemies with some crucial errors. Despite controlling the bulk of possession and territory the Wallabies failed to convert that into points, with France again dominating the breakdown and forcing 12 turnovers to stem the attack.

Barnstorming winger Marika Koroibete was again among Australia’s best, running for a game-high 136 metres, and was unlucky to be denied two first-half tries. The only French try came in the 21st minute against the run of play through winger Damien Penaud, with the Jaminet conversion setting up a 13-3 lead.

The Wallabies snatched a vital five-pointer just before halftime when they hammered the visitors’ line before prop Taniel Tupou showed his skills to throw a cut-out pass for halfback Jake Gordon. 


Australia skipper Michael Hooper crossed in the 70th minute to close the gap to four points before Lolesio’s late penalty put them ahead, but France were worthy of the series equaliser.


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