Planet Rugby

France hammer Wallabies

10th November 2012 21:56

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France number eight Louis Picamoles L runs past Australia s scrum half Nick Phipps

Bulldozer: Louis Picamoles

France exacted revenge for the humiliation at the hands of the Wallabies two years ago with a dominant 33-6 victory at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The result brings an end to Australia's five-game winning streak against les Bleus and puts France in pole position in the chase for the all-important fourth place in the world rankings ahead of the World Cup pool draw next month.

France led 13-6 at the end of a scrappy first half highlighted by the home side's hard work on defence and their dominance at scrum time.

Indeed, Sekope Kepu was being worked over by Test debutant Yannick Forestier and it was off the back of an attacking scrum that French number eight Louis Picamoles could break to score the only try of the opening 40 minutes.

Fred Michalak set up Wesley Fofana for France's second try midway through the second half before the French scrum earned a penalty try - despite having changed their entire front row - as the Wallabies were held scoreless in the second half.

Michalak and Mike Harris traded early penalties as both sides look to move the ball around but failed to execute with any precision.

There were ominous signs for Australia as referee Nigel Owens awarded a series of penalties against the retreating Wallaby scrum five metres from their own line. Picamoles made sure the pressure told as he jogged over untouched.

Michalak landed the conversion to cap a solid start for les Bleus but Harris could cut the deficit at 10-6 after the French were caught offside to close the opening quarter.

With half time looming large, Michalak punished Kepu for not rolling away with a penalty and then landed a sucker-punch drop to give the hosts a 10-point lead at the interval.

Michalak was at the origin of France's second try as he stepped past Kurtley Beale to burst clear up the centre of the field before finding Wesley Fofana up in support for an easy finish.

Philippe Saint-André sent on the Clermont front row around the hour mark and it only served to augment to French ascendency at scrum time and the penalty try on 64 minutes came as no surprise.

Rob Simmons was extremely lucky not to get his marching orders for a tip tackle on Yannick Nyanga because none of the three officials could see the number on his back.

Australia came literally within inches of getting a try back but Morgan Parra did sterling work to get under the ball and hold it up.

Parra landed a final penalty to rub salt into the Wallabies' wounds, sending them to Twickenham with plenty to think about.

Man of the match: Michalak deserves a mention for his 15-point haul and try-creating break but we'll go with Louis Picamoles who was simply phenomenal with ball in hand. He went forward in every contact situation.

Moment of the match: The result had probably already been sealed for France by Fofana's try but the penalty try told a story itself and summed up a woeful night for the Wallaby front row.

Villain of the match: Rob Simmons for his (unpunished) spear tackle and the match officials for failing to take note of his number.

The scorers:

For France:
Tries: Picamoles, Fofana, Penalty try
Cons: Michalak 3
Pens: Michalak 2, Parra
Drop: Michalak

For Australia:
Pens: Harris 2

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Florian Fritz , 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Jocelino Suta, 4 Pascal Papé (c), 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Vincent Debaty, 19 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Yoann Huget.

Australia: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Radike Samo, 21 Liam Gill, 22 Brett Sheehan, 23 Berrick Barnes.

Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Television match official: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

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