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Bashed, bruised and humbled: Wallabies meet their Paris match

Wesley Fofana streaks away to score a try.

Wesley Fofana streaks away to score a try. Photo: Reuters

PARIS: This was payback. With Armistice Day looming and memories swirling of their 2010 humiliation, an incensed France set about dismantling the Wallabies' newfound confidence with a 27-point monstering of the tourists on Saturday night.

The 33-6 result left Australia's record in Paris as sullied as the gold jerseys smeared with mud at Stade de France. It is only the second time the Wallabies have lost in the French capital in almost 20 years and gives their last loss - 27-14 in 2004 - a retrospective rose-tint.

France's players celebrate after Wesley Fofana scores.

France's players celebrate after Wesley Fofana scores. Photo: AP

Tries to blistering No.8 Louis Picamoles and winger Wesley Fofana, plus a second-half penalty try, went unanswered by the Wallabies, whose attack submitted to France's trademark ferocious physicality. The Australians were confined to two first-half penalties and kept scoreless in the second half.

About the only positive that could be found at the end of the 80-minute rout was that the injury-battered Wallabies sustained no further casualties in Paris. The mental scarring will be harder to repair.

The French took a seven point lead within 13 minutes and stretched it to 10 points by half time as the Australians butchered ample possession and the French stamped early - and enduring - dominance over the Wallabies' scrum. Picamoles's try in the 12th minute and the seasoned boot of veteran five-eighth Freddie Michalak put the French at a 16-6 advantage at the break.

Australian lock Rob Simmons could face a ban after this tip tackle on Yannick Nyanga.

Australian lock Rob Simmons could face a ban after this tip tackle on Yannick Nyanga. Photo: AP

Australia managed only two penalties, in the ninth and 22nd minutes, despite enjoying even possession for most of the half. The Wallabies knew they needed to start fast but their attack struggled on the muddy Stade de France pitch, resulting in dropped high balls, passes to ghosts and countless knock-ons. When they did not cough up their own ball, the French defused the attacked and countered.

In the second half the Wallabies could not muster the spirit or execution that turned a similar situation on its head two years ago.

The sting in Australia's forward play, administered to great effect against the All Blacks last month, was absent on Saturday night. Replacements Radike Samo and Stephen Moore, who became Australia's most-capped hooker with that performance, invigorated the Australian attack about 20 minutes too late.

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

France trounce Wallabies

French forwards hammer Wallabies in Paris humiliation. Photo: AFP

French fullback Brice Dulin and winger Wesley Fofana cut through the Wallabies line to apply immense pressure on a number of occasions, while Michalak's exploitation of the midfield channel delivered Fofana an easy second-half try.

Berrick Barnes was sent in to relieve Mike Harris at fullback but his experience mattered little. Michalak, who scored 15 points for the French, including a drop goal, made the conversion and took the French to an unassailable 23-6 lead.

The penalty try and another penalty in the 77th minute took France to 33-6 over the tourists. It was a painful first northern hemisphere experience for many Wallabies, including Nick Cummins, Ben Tapuai, Kane Douglas, Michael Hooper and Paddy Ryan.

Replacement lock Rob Simmons was lucky not to be sent off for a tip tackle on French flanker Yannick Nyanga. Referee Nigel Owens was heard to apologise to France skipper Pascal Pape for not sending Simmons off because he could determine who made the tackle. Simmons may not have such luck with IRB officials after the game.

"It didn't work out the way we'd like it to [have] but France played very, very well," captain Nathan Sharpe said.

England, high on confidence following their rout of Fiji, will be licking their lips in the lead up to the Test at Twickenham on Saturday.

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

159 comments so far

  • I thought that Australia was supposed to be the number 2 team behind the All Blacks. Clearly this is only on paper. The true test of a team's real position in the rankings is determined by their ability to win away from home.

    Commenter
    Jack the Muzz
    Location
    Taihape, NZ
    Date and time
    November 11, 2012, 9:44AM
    • Yeah, they are not second from the top mate, they are second from the bottom. You got the ranking sheet upside down. Hahahhahhaha

      Commenter
      Cuzzy Bro's bro
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 10:15AM
    • The All Blacks are number 1 ?? Really ??

      Commenter
      Kel
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 10:25AM
    • Eddie Jones started the rot - it si now entrenched.

      Commenter
      It started at the world cup
      Location
      when Eddie lost the winnable game
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 11:05AM
    • The only reason the media like to rate the Wallabies at number two is to try and defend the Robbie Deans coaching era, which in my mind has been far from positive for the Australian team. It seems to me that, the super wealthy Rugby playing social class here in Australia brought Deans in too try and get parity with the All Blacks! This idea has surely failed and in the process the self belief within the team has declined to the point where they get beaten by some pretty average teams at times. Trying to buy success in sport is never an easy thing to do! One thing I think the Kiwis need to do when they knock the Aussies though is to remember how many Locks, Number eights and Fly halves play AFL! Rugby is not the national game across the Tasman! It could even be fourth behind Football these days?

      Commenter
      Matt Palmer
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 11:56AM
    • A good day for a troll.

      Commenter
      volpino
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 12:20PM
    • I agree Jack the Muzz, which means that NZ really is a pretty crap side considering they can only win world cups at home...

      Commenter
      Sydney
      Location
      Syd
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 12:31PM
    • 1st half of this match was won by Australia welsh referee was speaking French. 1st try was a blatant penalty obstruction. Wallabies fell off drastically but you cant expect much more with our B/C team running around. the only thing we had out their that was our A side was the front row and they were pretty well beaten most of the time and somehow managed parity mystifyingly the rest of the time.
      A kiwi should know exactly what it feels like to be beaten like a red headed stepchild by the french. But only when overwhelming favourites or just a greenpeace warrior at anchor. And I know a true test of a teams rankings is weighed up with both home and away games taken into account. Just because thats the way it's done moron
      We will beat Scotland or Italy if only we played them both. but we will be lucky to beat any of the top teams in Europe at home.

      Commenter
      Nato
      Location
      Thinks most kiwis are as dumb as they look
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 1:55PM
    • Australia is the no.2 team in the world. The number 1 team is the one they play currently and lose humiliatingly.

      Commenter
      MM
      Location
      NSW
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 4:35PM
    • i cannot stand this losing mentality "oh but what about the injuries" and "we don't have the depth" its BS. We have 22m people in this country and any number of gifted athletes.

      The idea that the other codes all "steal" our best Rugby players is pathetic. If there are great athletes doing other things then Rugby should be going after them.

      The Wallabies are 23 people. We have literally hundreds of Rugby players and Rugby League players to choose from. There isn't a select group of people who are allowed to play for Australia by meeting a pre conceived set of conditions. Get the best athletes, get a decent coach. Stop the excuses

      Commenter
      rossco
      Date and time
      November 11, 2012, 9:07PM

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