France too strong for Wallabies

Sun, Aug 27, 2023, 5:16 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies pushed the All Blacks all the way in Dunedin

France have showcased their class with a 41-17 win over the Wallabies in Paris.

The hosts sent a message to the rest of the world ahead of the World Cup opener on September 9 in a near-perfect performance

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As for the Wallabies, they showed promise throughout the game, although struggled to pierce an impressive French defensive unit.

Suliasi Vunivalu was the standout with a solid night out on his return to the starting side, although found himself sitting for ten after a professional foul.

The French controlled the scoreboard and closed the game out with two tries in the final quarter.

“The solutions have to come from the group,” vice captain Tate McDermott said after the game. “Eddie’s doing his best for us but we’re just letting ourselves down out there.

“There are times where we are walking and you can’t afford to walk, particularly in big games like that.

“We have two weeks to find a solution against Georgia because they’re a bloody good side so we need to make sure we front there.”

France started fast as they looked to reward a spirited home crowd, scoring in the fifth minute through Jonathan Danty.

The booming noise from the Stade de France crowd even caused the hosts some problems, causing back-to-back baulked throws by Julien Marchand.

The visitors were undeterred by the occasion early on, their pressure rewarded when Andrew Kellaway found Mark Nawaqanitawase in the corner.

Winger Suliasi Vunivalu did his best to silence the crowd, playing his best game in the gold jersey by far whilst the scrum stood up and earned dominance.

However, discipline and a lack of execution hurt them in the first half, allowing Thomas Ramos to kick a trio of penalties. Comparatively, Carter Gordon couldn’t convert his two chances as France took a 16-5 lead into the break.

The turning point of the match came just after the break as the Wallabies started to build pressure on the French goalline.

Two stolen lineouts curtailed their attack, allowing Antoine Dupont to put Ramos through a hole 

From the resulting break, Vunivalu was yellow-carded for a professional foul.

With the winger in the bin, Antoine Dupont put a perfect cross-field kick onto the chest of Damian Penaud to further extend the lead.

Fraser McReight gave the visitors some hope when he dived over, splitting the gap thanks to a great Tate McDermott box kick that was collected by Nawaqanitawase.

It was short-lived as the French answered with their own cross-field kick two minutes later, collected by Gabin Villiere for the five-pointer.

Penaud sealed the win with a great chip and chase as the French enter the World Cup opener against New Zealand in red-hot form.

Vunivalu got a consolation try for the Wallabies with three minutes to go as they turn their focus to their World Cup opener against Georgia on September 10.


TRIES: Danty, Penaud 2, Villiere

CONS: Ramos 2/3, Me. Jaminet 1/1

PENS: Ramos 4/5, Me. Jaminet 1/1


TRIES: Nawaqanitawase, McReight, Vunivalu

CONS: Gordon 1/3

PENS: Gordon 0/2


France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Thibaud Flament, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros.

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Cameron Woki, 21 Paul Boudehent, 22 Baptiste Couilloud, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.

Australia: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Suliasi Vunivalu, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Tom Hooper, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.

Replacements: 16 Matt Faessler 17 Blake Schoupp, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Langi Gleeson, 22 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 23 Ben Donaldson

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)

Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley (England) & Craig Evans (Wales)

TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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