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Waterloo for Wallabies as Beale calls for more fight

Date

Georgina Robinson

FRANCE 33 AUSTRALIA 6

Australia's flanker Radike Samo makes a break. Click for more photos

France trounce Wallabies

French forwards hammer Wallabies in Paris humiliation. Photo: AFP

PARIS: Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale says Australia must fight harder to avoid being ''wiped off the park'' again this weekend after their stunning 27-point capitulation at the hands of the French.

Beale, still reeling from the loss, said the Wallabies showed ''a lot of heart'' but ultimately retreated into their shells in the face of a passionate French performance.

''They showed a lot more guts, a lot more passion, they were very physical at the breakdown and their defence was very disciplined,'' Beale said. ''The gaps were there but they closed it very quickly, they did their homework very well and stuck to it. We tried everything but I think a few little dropped balls didn't really go our way. It's tough. They just came at us with everything and pretty much wiped us off the park.''

Fall of Adam … Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooper heads for the Stade de France turf after a strong tackle by Wesley Fofana during Saturday’s disappointing defeat.

Fall of Adam … Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooper heads for the Stade de France turf after a strong tackle by Wesley Fofana during Saturday’s disappointing defeat. Photo: AP

In typical French style, there was an emotional element to Les Bleus' domination on Saturday. With every minor victory - each clean out, line break, penalty or turnover - they grew in strength. The Wallabies, in answer, fell silent. It was that dreaded dark room again. There was no way out.

''After a few big game-changers, a few penalties went their way and they just kept the scoreboard ticking over, the boys went a bit quiet there,'' Beale said. ''[The reserves] came on and did a really good job in sparking the boys up and they were all connected.

''I think we lost connection there midway through the game and that's the important thing that we've got to take forward, connecting with each other and trying to stay connected for the full 80 minutes.''

Berrick Barnes's insertion at fullback after winger Wesley Fofana scored in the second half returned a measure of composure to the back line, which found gaps disappearing whichever way it stretched. Hooker Stephen Moore and blindside Radike Samo freshened the forwards but the damage was done up front much earlier.

Captain Nathan Sharpe said the Wallabies knew what the French would offer but failed to respond.

''We always figured they were going to come with a lot of intensity,'' he said. ''I thought our intensity was good but our execution let us down a lot. It is very hard to build pressure on teams, build points, when you keep turning the ball over.''

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Mike Harris, Paddy Ryan, James Slipper and Dave Dennis were among the offenders. There was soft ground under foot but the Wallabies have played with greasier balls.

Coach Robbie Deans, whose quest for consistency continues after another seesawing result, said inaccuracies handed over power to the French when the Wallabies were enjoying most of the possession and repeatedly found themselves in the home side's 22. ''It was an arm-wrestle there for a period and we opened the door in some ways with our inaccuracies,'' he said. ''They grew in confidence off the back of that and created a lot of momentum.''

The loss also marked the second game in a row in which the Wallabies failed to score a try. Beale said he was up to the challenge of directing the Wallabies attack but would have played a more tactical game if given the chance again.

''Earlier on, we should have played a bit more field position - I'll take a bit of ownership on that,'' he said. ''The gaps were there and there was a lot of space there to play so, as a back line, that's what we set out to do … but they shut it down very well. Earlier on we should have kicked the corners and played the game in their half.''

England await, which means the Wallabies must learn Saturday's lessons quickly. The most recent Bledisloe result, an 18-18 draw with New Zealand, suggests the Wallabies know where the light switch is.

FRANCE 33 (1 penalty try; Wesley Fofana, Louis Picamoles tries Frederic Michalak 3 cons Michalak 2, Morgan Parra pens drop goal) bt AUSTRALIA 6 (Mike Harris 2 pens) at Stade de France. Ref: Nigel Owens.

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