Australia stunned by France in quarter-final

Sat, Jan 28, 2023, 7:58 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Australians have been knocked out by France. Photo: Getty Images
The Australians have been knocked out by France. Photo: Getty Images

Australia has been sensationally knocked out of the quarter-finals, going down to France 10-5.

The defending World Series champions were smothered for the majority of the 14 minutes, with the big-bodied French dominating possession and territory.

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They scored tries on either side of half-time to take the victory, holding out one final Australia attack for the biggest upset of the event so far.

"It's horrible. Losing's not the greatest feeling in the world, especially at home," dejected head coach Tim Walsh said.

"There's always lessons when you win, lose or draw. You tend to look at the losses more and we're going to have to look at it. This tournament gives us a really good position on where we're at.

"This is a completely new scenario for a lot of them and it's how they handle it and learn from it."

France controlled the game from the start, with heroic defence from the Australians keeping them in the contest.

The turning point came in the fifth minute when Charlotte Caslick was yellow-carded for a controversial high shot, collecting the ducking ball carrier in the head.

The toll of the relentless attack took its toll, with a loose lineout ball allowing Chloé Pelle to dive over the line through some soft defence.

France's dominance continued into the second half, eventually extending their lead down through Carla Neilsen.

Faith Nathan provided a spark for the Australians, running the length of the field to give the local crowd some hope.

Whilst they got the restart back, an errand pass gave possession back to France, who held on to close the game out.

"I can't fault the way the girls had a crack. A couple of things like the bounce of the ball can go differently but even that last play, they gave themselves every chance to at least work away with it.

"We can start experimenting and making sure we're building for next year going into the Olympic year where we have to qualify which is the main thing."

Australia will fight for fifth place, facing Great Britain on January 29 (11:32 am)

France 10 (TRIES: Pelle, Nielsen) def Australia 5 (TRIES: Nathan)

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