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France claim big win over Eddie Jones’ Wallabies before World Cup

By Finn Morton
France will go into the upcoming Rugby World Cup after another Test triumph, but the same can’t be said for the Wallabies who are still winless under coach Eddie Jones.

France will go into the upcoming Rugby World Cup with plenty of confidence after another Test triumph, but the same can’t be said for the Wallabies.

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Playing in front of a relentlessly vocal crowd at Stade de France on Sunday, the Wallabies showed plenty of fight and character against a spirited Les Bleus outfit.

Australia deserves some praise for their efforts, sure, but the men in gold are still yet to register a win under coach Jones after falling to their fifth defeat in as many starts – losing 41-17.

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Walking through the streets of Saint-Denis, and up into the stands at Stade de France, it was immediately apparent why this venue is one of the most famous in Test rugby.

It isn’t just a stadium for the French, it’s a fortress. Ahead of the Rugby World Cup on home soil, the French wanted to make a statement – so the fans brought plenty of passion and noise.

There was no sign of Les Bleus about 40 minutes before kick-off, but then, almost suddenly, captain Antoine Dupont was met with a deafening cheer as the halfback made his way out onto the field.

The fans helped set the stage for what promised to be an enthralling Summer Nations Series fixture in the north of Paris. It was one of the best sporting atmospheres that this writer has experienced.

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Following the national anthems, young Wallabies flyhalf Carter Gordon kicked off proceedings at 5.46 pm.

Points Flow Chart

France win +24
Time in lead
75
Mins in lead
0
93%
% Of Game In Lead
0%
40%
Possession Last 10 min
60%
10
Points Last 10 min
5

Both teams played a bit of kicktennis throughout the opening minute or so before referee Luke Pearce intervened. Pearce raised his arm up in favour of the Wallabies, and the crowd went uncharacteristically quiet.

Towering lock Will Skelton pointed towards the sticks for the first time as Wallabies captain. Carter Gordon was given the first opportunity to strike at Stade de France.

Much to the delight of the home crowd, Gordon sent his attempt wide. Les Bleus had an opportunity to relieve some pressure with a 22-metre drop-out.

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But the Wallabies returned the ball with a vengeance. Wing Mark Nawaqanitawase made a break down the left edge, and suddenly, they were back inside the French 22 for the second time in as many minutes.

But the Wallabies were their own worst enemy once again. Just as it has been for more than a year, the Aussies’ poor discipline cost them in key moments.

Australia gave away a penalty, which gave Les Bleus another opportunity to kick their way out of pressure. But this time, they’d retain the ball.

France made their way down the other end of the field, and with their first attack of the Wallabies’ try line, scored through inside centre Jonathan Danty.

Danty, 30, ran without fear as he charged onto a short ball from captain Dupont. The midfielder received the ball about five metres out from the line, and wasn’t going to be denied.

Playing against a fiery French side and their home fans, the Wallabies needed to score next – and they did.

Nawaqanitawase scored six minutes later in the left corner, which gave Gordon a chance to level the Test at 7-all. Unfortunately for the Wallabies, the young No. 10 missed that attempt as well.

But the Wallabies were well and truly in the fight. They refused to throw in the towel, and were playing with plenty of front-foot ball.

They were also making their mark in defence, with fullback Andrew Kellaway preventing a certain try as he bundled French wing Gabin Villiere into touch.

Australia still trailed by two, sure, but it could’ve been worse.

The second quarter of the Test was a goal-kicking duel between Gordon and French fullback Thomas Ramos.

Ramos was perfect off the kicking tee with three successful attempts to round out the half. As for Gordon, the playmaker missed a third shot at goal. Les Bleus went into the half leading 16-5.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
3
Draws
0
Wins
2
Average Points scored
30
26
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
80%

Three minutes into the second half, Ramos was given another opportunity to extend France’s lead. Lining up a shot from inside the Wallabies’ 22, it seemed relatively routine.

But the fullback hooked the shot wide left.

The Wallabies and their fans breathed a sigh of relief, but only for a moment. Ramos didn’t miss at the second time of trying in the 54th minute, and wing Damin Penaud scored just a couple of minutes later.

Entering the final quarter of the Test, Les Bleus were leading 26-5. The vibrant crowd were in full voice, and their rugby heroes showed no signs of slowing down.

Wing Suliasi Vunivalu was sent to the sin bin during a fiery second half, but it wasn’t all bad news for the visitors. The Wallabies made their mark with a try to flanker Fraser McReight.

But France bounced back.

Wing Gabin Villiere all but sealed the deal for Les Bleus with their third try of the Test. France led by a commanding score of 31-12 with about 15 minutes to play.

French flyer Damian Penaud crossed for his second with less than 10 minutes to play as Les Bleus completed their demolition of the Wallabies.

Australia’s Suliasi Vunivalu had the last laugh with a try late in the piece, but the damage had already been done.

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finn 4 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

12 Go to comments
S
Simon 6 hours ago
Is the Six Nations balance of power shifting?

There are a few issues with the article. Despite somehow getting to a RWC semi final, England are nowhere near Probable status and should be swapped with Scotland on current form. France’s failure at RWC 23 has massively hit their mindset. Psychologically, they need a reset of gigantic proportions otherwise they will revert to, Top 14 first, international rugby an afterthought again. Ireland are allowed to play the way they are by less than acceptable officiating. Make no bones about it, with Easterby coaching, Ireland cheat, they break the rules at almost every facet of the game and generally referees, influenced by the media that Ireland are somehow playing the best rugby in the world, allow them. Scrums - Porter never pushes straight and immediately turns in. The flankers lose their binds and almost latch on to the opposition props. Rucks - they always and I mean always clear out from the side and take players out beyond the ball, effectively taking them out of being ready for the next phase. Not once do green shirts enter rucks from the rear foot. Referees should be made to look at the video of the game against Wales and see that Irish backs and forwards happily enter rucks from the side to effect a clearout, thus giving them the sub 3 second ruck speed everybody dreams about. They also stand in offside positions at rucks to ‘block’ opposing players from making clear tackles allowing the ball carrier to break the gainline almost every time. They then turn and are always ahead of play and therefore enter subsequent rucks illegally. Mauls - there is always a blocker between the ball catcher and the opposition. It is subtle but it is there. Gatland still needs to break the shackles and allow his team a bit more freedom to play rugby. He no longer has a team of 16 stone plus players who batter the gainline. He has to adapt and be more thoughtful in attack. Scotland are playing well but they have the creaky defence that leaks tries.

24 Go to comments
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