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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Wallabies have won the Castrol EDGE France Tour 3-0 and brought home the Trophée des Bicentenaries to Australia in front of a record 43 188 fans at Allianz Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The crowd was the biggest Test Rugby crowd ever at Allianz stadium.
The win means the Wallabies have now won seven Test matches in a row, a feat not achieved by the Wallabies since 2000.
For his excellent performance, Wycliff Palu was named the Castrol EDGE Strongest Player.
Australia started the match well with a three pointer coming from the boot of Bernard Foley after some quick play from the Wallabies caught the French off guard at the breakdown.
Les Bleus had a chance to equalise a minute later, but scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud’s attempt bounced off the posts, leaving Australia’s advantage at 3-0.
The Wallabies controlled possession and patiently pushed their way through the oncoming French defence for 20 phases. It was too much for France, with Will Skelton crossing over for the Wallabies’ first try of the match and the 22 year old’s first Test try in his debut match for Australia.
Bernard Foley converted and Australia went to a 10-0 lead.
France worked their way back into the match with some strong scrums that knocked the Wallabies off their feet, allowing Brice Dulin to slot a penalty from 50 metres out, giving France its first points of the game.
Not to be outdone, a fired up Wallabies Captain, Michael Hooper, sprinted from the kick off to smash the French receiver and collected a penalty after a Les Blues infringement at the breakdown.
Bernard Foley easily converted the penalty option, taking Australia’s lead to 13-3.
An early tackle on Michael Hooper before he had received the ball from a flying Israel Folau meant that French prop Rabah Slimani was given a yellow card for his professional foul.
With Les Bleus down to 14 men, it didn’t take long for the Wallabies to score with Israel Folau diving for the corner to give Australia its second try of the match, and taking the Wallabies’ lead to 20-3.
The French scrum continued to show why it is one of the fiercest in world Rugby as it tested the Wallabies forward pack. French scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud made amends for his first attempt and converted the penalty to take the score to 20-6.
Despite a daring run from number 8, Wycliff Palu, as he sidestepped his way through the French defence, the score remained 20-6 at halftime.
After a presentation at half time of Australia’s oldest Wallaby, Gordon Stone, who turned 100 in April this year, the Wallabies came back ready to continue their running Rugby in the second half.
Will Skelton’s soft hands were on display as he slotted Wallabies fullback Israel Folau into a gap to score a try in the opening minutes of the second half, which was converted by Bernard Foley, taking Australia to a 27-6 lead.
Will Skelton received a standing ovation as he came off the field in the 56th minute for his amazing efforts in his debut match for the Wallabies in front of his home crowd.
Australia continued to attack the French line as Les Bleus struggled for possession in the face of the powerful Wallabies forwards.
Home grown heroes Kurtley Beale and Michael Hooper combined in the midfield to give Australia its fourth try of the match as Beale sent a slick inside ball to his captain, who ran 30 metres to score under the posts. Bernard Foley’s radar continued to be on song as Australia extended its lead to 34-6.
A frustrated France continued its resistance and was finally rewarded with a try in the 65th minute through French hooker Guilhem Guirado, who powered through off the back of a strong French maul near the Wallabies line.
Maxime Machenaud converted the try narrowing the Wallabies lead to 34-13.
The Wallabies refocused their attack and with a string of fresh legs coming on, scrumhalf Nick Phipps caught the French defence napping, taking a quick tap and crossing over to score.
Bernard Foley missed the conversion meaning Australia’s lead was 39-13.
France led a late charge against the Wallabies line but it wasn’t to be with the men in gold holding out the French attack.
The final score remained at 39-13, leaving the Wallabies to bask in their seventh straight victory in a row and look ahead to the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship of 2014.