Planet Rugby

Wallabies trounce fiery France

05th July 2008 12:48

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Howill scores v France

You are clear to land: James Horwill does a 747 impression to score for Australia

Australia recorded successive wins over an under-strength France side with a 40-10 success in Brisbane on Saturday.

In the final game of rugby to be played under the 'old' laws, Matt Giteau's faultless performance - albeit against visitors with holidays on their minds - was very much a warning shot to Tri-Nations rivals New Zealand and South Africa.

As predicted, the game at Suncorp Stadium was an non-contest, but for the Wallabies it was the perfect hit out before the Springboks come to town in fortnight's time.

All four tries - scored by Peter Hynes, James Horwill and two from replacement Ryan Cross - were created by the impressive Giteau, who also slotted 100 per cent of his goals.

And, boy, did the Wallabies come out firing as an early Giteau penalty was followed up by the same man's cross-field kick to wing Hynes for a clinical opening score on seven minutes - unlike last week's early arm-wrestle.

The in-form fly-half then booted a further nine points to notch a personal milestone of 300 Test points, whilst extending the lead to 19 on the half-hour as things started to look ominous.

However, the Western Force star's most memorable play was yet to come. In broken field, he pirouetted through an attempted tackle on the French 22 before slipping a backhand pass to the swan-diving James Horwill for his moment of glory.

With Australian tails now firmly up following their slick opening quarter, the result was sealed and therefore only pride was at stake for Marc Lièvremont's touring men.

Then came a temporary tide-turning incident that seemed to spur Les Bleus into life just as they had one knee on the Brisbane canvas.

An altercation between hooker Stephen Moore and flank Matthieu Lièvremont quickly turned into two packs going toe-to-toe with several punches thrown, mainly in the vicinity of Horwill's left eye.

And that was seemingly the tonic that France so desperately needed - up until half-time at least - as they went in with a penalty on the hooter from François Trinh-Duc.

Upon returning, the second period was not nearly as pulsating as what had past, as the Wallabies struggled to recapture their early magic.

Subsequently, Robbie Deans decided to shuffle his pack with his entire bench getting a run ahead of their southern hemisphere opener.

And it was replacement centre Cross who re-sparked the bonfire by crossing for a brace of well-taken tries with Giteau once again the provider.

But France had the last word, Francois Trinh-Duc finishing off a rare break-out with a consolation try in the final minute of the match.

Australia now have two weeks to get their minds and bodies right for the visit if the world champions in what will be a far sterner test than the French or Irish provided.

However, Deans may be without Cameron Shepherd - the full-back departed the action on a stretcher with a worrying looking knee injury late in the record-breaking result.

Man of the match: In an attacking master-class from the Australian fly-half, Matt Giteau was in scintillating form from the first minute as he set up the quartet of scores with a swagger that will keep Graham Henry and Peter de Villiers's homework books well inked.

Moment of the match: Surely the off-the-cuff play from Giteau that set up James Horwill. In a moment of brilliance the sniping ten slipped tackles before giving a pass that has to be seen to be believed.

Villain of the match: In the dying embers of the first half, a seemingly innocuous altercation between Stephen Moore and Matthieu Lièvremont led to Imanol Harinordoquy throwing several punches in the direction of James Horwill. The lock's eye subsequently held all of the proof of the number eight's busy fists!

The scorers:

For Australia:

Tries: Hynes, Horwill, Cross 2

Con: Giteau 4

Pen: Giteau 4

For France:

Tries: Trinh-Duc

Con: Yachvili

Pen: Trinh-Duc

Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Peter Hynes, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 Phil Waugh, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.

Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Hugh McMeniman, 19 George Smith, 20 Sam Cordingley, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 Cameron Shepherd.

France: 15 Benjamin Thiery, 14 Alexis Palisson, 13 Maxim Mermoz, 12 Thibault Lacroix, 11 David Janin, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Sebastian Tillous-Borde, 8 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Matthieu Lièvremont, 5 Lionel Nallet (captain), 4 Sebastien Chabal, 3 Renaud Boyoud, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Pierre Correia.

Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Benoit Lecouls, 18 Louis Picamoles, 19 Benjamin Boyet, 20 Yannick Caballero, 21 Dimitri Yachvili, 22 Jean-Baptiste Peyras.

Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)

Television match official: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)

Assessor: Andrew Cole (Australia)

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