Match report: Four-try Wallabies overpower France
June 28, 2008

Three second-half tries from Stirling Mortlock, Nathan Sharpe and Rocky Elsom helped Australia ease past France. Fly-half Matt Giteau racked up 19 points, including a try, four conversions and two penalties.

The match was tightly poised at the break but two tries with four minutes of the re-start, one each to lock Sharpe and flanker Elsom, set up a comfortable victory for the Wallabies.

The first opportunity to score came in the 4th minute when France were penalised for diving into a ruck forty metres out straight in front by referee Marius Jonker but Matt Giteau's penalty attempt faded wide. But France also had a useful opportunity when young winger Alexis Palisson stepped around Lote Tuqiri and made good ground down the right hand side.

Sebastien Chabal was also in good form, causing havoc in the Wallabies line out by stealing some early throw-ins. But in the 18th minute a ruck infringement by French centre Damien Traille gave Giteau another chance. He made no mistake from 25 metres out just to the right of the post to put the Wallabies up 3-0.

Visiting scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili equalised from 40 metres out four minutes later before both teams were rocked by injuries. French full back Pepito Elhorga damaged his shoulder in a heavy tackle while Tuqiri was replaced with 11 minutes to go in the first half with a knee injury.

But with four minutes to go in the first half the French resolve finally broke with fullback Cameron Shepherd launching a counter-attack from a poorly directed French kick which he took on his own 22. Shepherd combined with Mortlock and replacement Adam Ashley-Cooper to create the space for Giteau to score the game's first try.

Giteau also converted and Yachvili's penalty after the siren made the half-time score Australia 10, France 6.

The Wallabies started the second half in much more aggressive mood. Luke Burgess made a strong break from which the French never recovered, and from a subsequent ruck the scrum-half popped a pass to Sharpe, who crashed over. Giteau converted and then sent Elsom over for the next try four minutes later. The fly-half again converted and added a penalty for a seemingly insurmountable 27-6 Australian lead.

Australia raced away even further on the 62nd minute when Mortlock intercepted a Traille pass to race thirty metres and score under the posts. Giteau again converted to make the score 34-6. France got over for their only try shortly afterwards when after some sustained pressure Palisson managed to plant the ball on the line despite a huge tackle by Mortlock. Francois Trinh-Duc converted to bring the score back to 34-13.

France pressed the home line in the final minutes but the Wallabies held out.

Australia (10) 34 France (6) 13

Australia: Tries: Giteau, Sharpe, Elsom, Mortlock. Cons: Giteau 4. Pens: Giteau 2.

Australia: Shepherd, Hynes, Mortlock, Barnes, Tuqiri, Giteau, Burgess, Robinson, Moore, Baxter, Horwill, Sharpe, Elsom,
Smith, Palu.

Replacements: Cross for Barnes (57), Ashley-Cooper for Tuqiri (29), Cordingley for Burgess (72), Alexander for Robinson (60), Freier for Moore (71), Mumm for Smith (65), Waugh for Palu (41).

France: Tries: Palisson. Cons: Trinh-Duc. Pens: Yachvili 2.

France: Elhorga, Palisson, Trinh-Duc, Traille, Thiery, Boyet, Yachvili, Faure, Bruno, Lecouls, Chabal, Nallet, Ouedraogo,
Harinordoquy, Picamoles.

Replacements: Janin for Elhorga (23), Lacroix for Boyet (58), Tillous-Borde for Yachvili (60), Boyoud for Faure (48),
Kayser for Bruno (49), Couzinet for Nallet (71), Lievremont for Picamoles (59).

Att: 48,900

Ref: M Jonker (South Africa).


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