France 29 Australia 26
Michael Cheika admits the Wallabies are struggling to find consistency ahead of their clash with Ireland next week, after France emerged with a 29-26 triumph from a thrilling contest at the Stade de France.
It was revenge for France’s summer whitewash down under and inflicted a first defeat on Wallabies boss Cheika. Les Bleus established a healthy lead in the first half following tries from Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Teddy Thomas — the latter a superb effort — before Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed to help the visitors back into the game.
The boot of Bernard Foley was also key to the Australian recovery, and at half-time the score was 17-16 to the hosts.
Camille Lopez’s kicking then kept France in front, as well as a penalty from Rory Kockott that made it 29-19. Remi Tales was subsequently sin-binned and Australia finished strongly, with Rob Simmons going over, but Cheika’s men could not rescue the match.
“The biggest thing for us is about making ourselves consistent,” said the former Leinster coach.
“We can play well but we have to do it every week and that comes from training well every day, keeping the standard high for yourself,” Cheika added.
“That isn’t going to happen in a few weeks, that’s something we’ve got to keep working at.”
Philippe Saint-Andre’s side went into Saturday’s contest having been beaten in all but one of their last nine meetings with Australia.
Within seven minutes Tillous-Borde nipped around the side of a ruck to score from short range, and then Thomas put his side 15-6 up, darting through a clutch of Wallaby shirts to notch his fourth try in two games.
Australia rallied and Ashley-Cooper beat two tacklers to pull a try back five minutes before the break.
After the interval, France kept their opponents at bay for much of the time as Lopez (scorer of two conversions and four penalties overall) continued to show accuracy, while Foley (who finished with the same total of points) replied with one effort at the other end.
And although Tales’ yellow card and a great try from Simmons made for a nervy final 10 minutes, the hosts were able to hang on.
Scorers for France: Tries: Tillous-Borde, Thomas. Cons: C. Lopez 2. Pens: C. Lopez 4, Kockott.
Scorers for Australia: Tries: Ashley-Cooper, Cooper. Cons: Foley 2. Pens: Foley 4.
FRANCE: Spedding, Huget, Dumoulin, Fofana, Thomas, C. Lopez, Tillous-Borde, Menini, Guirado, Mas, Pape, Maestri, Dusautoir, Le Roux, Chouly.
Replacements: Bastareaud for Dumoulin (40), Kockott for Tillous-Borde (50), Chiocci for Menini (58), Kayser for Guirado (50), Atonio for Mas (40), Flanquart for Pape (58).
AUSTRALIA: Folau, Ashley-Cooper, Kuridrani, LealiIfano, Tomane, Foley, Phipps, Slipper, Faingaa, Kepu, Horwill, Simmons, McMahon, Hooper, McCalman.
Replacements: Horne for LealiIfano (45), Cooper for Tomane (61), Robinson for Slipper (62), Alexander for Kepu (66).
Ref: Nigel Owens (Wales).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved