Australia down tired French

Australia 22 France 6

Australia 22 France 6

Australia issued a warning to their southern-hemisphere rivals ahead of the Tri-Nations series by posting a convincing victory over France at ANZ Stadium today.

Matt Giteau scored the only try of the night and kicked a perfect six of six with the boot in another commanding performance, while man of the match George Smith dominated at the breakdown.

Having opened up a seven-point buffer at the break, the Wallabies applied the blowtorch to the visitors with Giteau adding four penalties in the opening 17 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.

The hosts continued to press in front of 43,588 fans, but a combination of committed French defence and poor handling prevented a blow-out.

The Wallabies showed their willingness to attack from the opening whistle but Drew Mitchell was unable to ground the ball in the second minute of play.

Australia survived an early scare of their own when France captain Thierry Dusautoir charged down Giteau’s clearing kick, but the fly-half recovered well and won the race to the ball to defuse a dangerous situation.

French fly-half Lionel Beauxis failed to make the Wallabies pay for an early indiscretion missing a simple penalty shot in the 13th minute before also spraying an attempted field-goal three minutes later.

The Wallabies finally broke the deadlock with an enterprising try in the 17th minute.

Giteau found Mortlock who passed immediately to Lachie Turner to slip past Cedric Heymans before throwing a one-armed ball inside for Berrick Barnes who found Giteau backing up for the converted try and a 7-0 lead.

Beauxis sent his kick-off sailing into touch at the re-start but he made amends with a penalty goal to trim the deficit to 7-3 at the midway point of the opening stanza.

Giteau’s 28th-minute penalty re-established a seven-point buffer at the break.

Maxime Mermoz sent an early shudder through the Wallabies camp when he swooped on a Luke Burgess pass and set sail for the try-line two minutes in, but the French number 12 was denied a certain five-pointer after he was ruled offside at the breakdown.

Giteau made no mistake with the penalty shot to make it 13-3 the Wallabies’ way.

The hosts continued to dominate proceedings as Giteau added three more penalty-goals to hand his side a commanding 22-3 lead after 57 minutes.

Les Bleus’ decision to settle for a gift three points rather than chance their arm with 19 minutes remaining was a telling sign the effects of a torrid series against the All Blacks had finally caught up with them.

To their credit the visitors stuck to the task as both sides failed to trouble the scoreboard attendants in a scrappy conclusion to the contest.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox