'Very French': Wallabies fans in fits following absurd French finish
It was a case of so near yet so far for Les Bleuson Wednesday night as they came within literal seconds of a first win over the Wallabies on Australian soil since 1990.
Whilst the Wallabies struggled to get their combinations working for the majority of the game, the French side, with a starting fifteen containing just 122 caps between them, looked like experienced and well-drilled test level competitors.
The French worked two wonderful tries for Gabin Villière early on and put the Wallabies under serious pressure with a classic Shaun Edwards defensive display. After 25 minutes Les Bleus were 15-0 up.
A missed drop goal attempt from Noah Lolesio and a Hunter Pasami crosskick drifting just wide with three minutes to go seemed to suggest a famous French win down under was on the cards. Yet, at the very last moment, that early French composure seemed to entirely disappear as heavy pressure from the Aussies at lineout time translated into the French being unable to boot the ball to the stands.
With time up on the clock, Wallaby debutant Darcy Swain was able to disrupt a French lineout and while halfback Teddy Iribaren was able to get his hands on the ball, his pass backwards found no one and McDermott pounced on the loose ball. With the Wallabies completing phase after phase, they eventually drew the penalty, allowing Lolesio to slot the three for a 23-21 win.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a fluffed clearance has let the French down in the last 12 months. In the 2020 Six Nations, kicking the ball out prematurely saw England kick a penalty for a losing bonus point that eventually cost France the title.
Unsurprisingly social media was alive with fans revelling in the chaos of the final moments, many of whom simply couldn’t fathom how France had thrown away the victory.
— Steve Lenthall (@steve_l15) July 7, 2021
— James Laurence (@_jameslt) July 7, 2021
Well I for one have missed France being batshit crazy… #AUSvFRA
— Jamie Phillips (@JNPhillips4) July 7, 2021
— Philip Bredin (@philbredin) July 7, 2021
How very french that finish was. #AUSvFRA
— Ben Darwin (@bendarwin) July 7, 2021
— Mike Bubbins (@MikeBubbins) July 7, 2021
France winning 21-20, clock goes red, they get a penalty – rather than tap and kick it out – they go for a lineout, lose it, Australia go down the field, kick a pen. 23-21. Absolute scenes. So very France. #AUSvFRA
— Jack Duncan? (@JackDunc1) July 7, 2021
— Graham Love (@glove931) July 7, 2021
Many Australian fans were also simply pleased that their side had managed to fight their way back from an almost 80-minute deficit – a feat that showed they’re growing as a team.
Finding a way to win tonight is the biggest positive out of that game. Darcy Swain was excellent. Tate too. I enjoyed the Lolesio DG attempt and watching the team set up, aware of the need to ice the game with a kick is encouraging. Something Aust hasn’t done well lately #AUSvFRA
— Michael Atkinson (@kinson88) July 7, 2021
That first 30 was absolutely disgraceful.
That last 50 was pure guts. Lot to work on, but when their backs were against the wall, the Wallabies stood up and somehow won. Full credit to them. Long way to go, but a good start.
Also, that new jersey looks outstanding! ? #AUSvFRA
— Nick Wasiliev (@Nick_Wasiliev) July 7, 2021
A more gutsy Australian performance you will not see. Well done to this young @Wallabies side – wonderful to see the Wallabies playing with such grit to win….right to the 83rd minute! Also great to see the gold Wallabies jersey return – never ever change it again. #AUSvFRA
— Gray Connolly (@GrayConnolly) July 7, 2021
Really, really happy the @Wallabies found a way – and had the will to keep going – to win that game.
There's so many recent egs where that would've been gold jerseys buggering up that last lineout, but it was gold pressure.
It's a huge win. Now do it again.#AUSvFRA ?????
— Brett McKay (@BMcSport) July 7, 2021
I don't get it. The Wallabies needed a win, and a group of largely young, inexperienced players just delivered one, and some fans are disappointed with it? Sure it was ugly, yes there are plenty of work-ons, but finding a way to win is nothing to complain about #AUSvFRA
— Daniel Jeffrey (@_d_jeffrey) July 7, 2021
Looking for silver linings… three times last year the Wallabies had a chance to snatch victory at the death and failed.
They shifted that narrative tonight.
They won't have earned new fans, but they've given something back to the ones they've always had.#AUSvFRA
— CarrickTalksRugby (@TalksRugby) July 7, 2021
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