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Australia 34-13 France

Australia (10) 34
Tries: Giteau, Sharpe, Elsom, Mortlock Cons: Giteau 4 Pens: Giteau 2

France (6) 13
Try: Palisson Con: Trinh-Duc Pens: Yachvili 2

Australia tryscorer Matt Giteau
Giteau contributed 19 points to the Wallabies' emphatic win in Sydney

Australia powered clear of a new-look France side in the second half to claim a convincing win in the first Test.

Matt Giteau's try gave the Wallabies a narrow 10-6 lead at the end of a forgettable first half in Sydney.

But Australia turned on the style after the break with scores from Nathan Sharpe, Rocky Elsom and Stirling Mortlock sweeping them 34-6 ahead.

Debutant Alexis Palisson claimed a deserved consolation for France, but the game was already over as a contest.

An experimental France side started brightly and an attack from inside their own 22 allowed Palissson to surprise his opposite number Lote Tuqiri with an enterprising run.

But a scrappy first half saw far too many handling mistakes from both sides, epitomised by an amateurish knock-on by France flanker Imanol Harinordoquy, while some fussy refereeing from Marius Jonker compounded the problem.

Australia edged in front through a Giteau penalty, but Yachvilli swiftly replied for the visitors as both teams struggled to find much inspiration.

After a couple of near misses, Australia finally made the breakthrough as Giteau, benefitting from a fine attack down the touchline by Cameron Shepherd, beat Sebastien Chabal for pace and cruised in under the posts.

Dimitri Yachvili notched a late penalty to give France hope going into half-time, but Australia killed off the game in a devastating spell at the start of the second half.

Scrum-half Luke Burgess provided the spark with a run off the back of a stolen line-out and Berrick Barnes kept the move going before Sharpe trundled over from close range after a series of drives.

France lock Sebastien Chabal
Chabal returned to the side at lock for France
Soon after, Wallabies winger Peter Hynes made good ground to set up the position for Elsom to cross after a simple inside ball from Giteau and some weak French defence.

France battled back into the game and set up camp in the Australia 22, but their prolonged attack eventually ended with them conceding a penalty for holding on.

With the visitors becoming more and more desperate, Mortlock plucked a Damien Traille pass out of the air and jogged in under the posts to stretch his side's lead.

But with a huge scoreline on the cards, Australia took their foot off the accelerator and the match began to fall back to the standards of the first half.

France's impressive winger Palisson showed good strength to take a short ball from Francois Trinh-Duc and go through Mortlock's tackle to score with 12 minutes left.

The score inspired France to end the game on the front foot, but Australia were good value for the victory.

Meanwhile, Italy secured a famous away win over Argentina in Buenos Aires after scoring 10 unanswered points, including a try from replacement Pablo Canavosio, in the second half to win 13-12.

Australia coach Robbie Deans:
"That was an improved performance. We sustained our attack for longer (than against Ireland).

"We made a few mistakes in the first half but showed a bit more patience in the second and were able to profit from that."

France coach Marc Lievremont:
"There is not that much to say - around the 60-minute mark the game was gone.

"We know top rugby is a game made up of a lot of little things, and we spent a lot of time in our own half and we paid for it in the end.

"But there is still some satisfaction because there was a lot of courage in defence. There are a lot of sore players in the dressing room."

Australia: Cameron Shepherd; Peter Hynes, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Berrick Barnes, Lote Tuqiri; Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess; Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore, Al Baxter, James Horwill, Nathan Sharpe, Rocky Elsom, George Smith, Wycliff Palu.
Replacements: Adam Freier, Ben Alexander, Dean Mumm, Phil Waugh, Sam Cordingley, Ryan Cross, Adam Ashley-Cooper.

France: Pepito Elhorga; Alexis Palissson, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damien Traille, Benjamin Thiery; Benjamin Boyet, Dimitri Yachvili; Lionel Faure, Sebastien Bruno, Benoit Lecouls, Sebastien Chabal, Lionel Nallet (capt), Imanol Harinordoquy, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles.
Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Renaud Boyoud, David Couzinet, Matthieu Lievremont, Sebastien Tillous-Bordes, Thubault Lacroix, David Janin.

Referee: M Jonker (South Africa)

see also
Australia 18-12 Ireland
14 Jun 08 |  Irish
Kiwi Deans is new Wallabies boss
14 Dec 07 |  Rugby Union
Lievremont appointed France coach
24 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union

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