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Saturday, 22 June, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Wallabies cruise past France
Stirling Mortlock (centre) takes on the French defence
Stirling Mortlock (centre) takes on the French defence
Australia 29-17 France

World champions Australia showed their authority as they comfortably beat France in a stop-start game in Melbourne on Saturday.

Six Nations champions France went into the game on the back of a narrow defeat by Argentina last week, and they never threatened to beat the Wallabies.

The only negative for Australia was the injury to hooker Jeremy Paul late in the first half. It was later confirmed he will be for two to four weeks with rib damage.

First-half tries from Chris Latham and Stephen Larkham gave the Wallabies a healthy lead at half-time as Australia dominated possession.

France improved after the break but Australia never looked in any real trouble, and Jean-Baptiste Poux's late try was nothing more than a consolation.

  Match details
Australia 29:
Tries: Chris Latham, Stephen Larkham
Cons: Matt Burke (2)
Pens: Burke (5)
France 17:
Tries: Jean-Baptiste Poux
Pens: Damien Traille, Francois Gelez (3)

The French were first on the board, courtesy of a Damien Traille long-range penalty, but Australia soon picked up the pace and pulled out a 13-3 lead.

Matt Burke got them ticking over with a penalty before Latham crossed for a marvellous try.

The Wallabies won a lineout on the right-hand side of the pitch and spread the ball across the field, with Latham looping round Stirling Mortlock before diving over in the corner to score.

Burke added the extras and slotted a second penalty to create some daylight.

And although two Francois Gelez penalties saw the gap close to four points, a moment of Larkham genius got the Wallabies moving again.

The hosts spun the ball from a scrum 10 metres out and Larkham offered a dummy before sliding through a gap and strolling over under the posts.

France forward Olivier Magne tries to get the ball away under pressure
Olivier Magne looks to pass under pressure
Burke converted and kicked another penalty to make it 23-9 to Australia at the break.

France stepped up their efforts in the second half and matched Australia for the first 20 minutes, with Gelez and Burke swapping penalties to keep the margin at 14 points.

Although the French struggled to create any scoring chances they were much more competitive in defence and the free-flowing Australian attack began to stutter.

With the crowd beginning to get slightly restless Burke slotted another penalty to make it 29-12 in the 71st minute, before France finally scored a try.

The midfield hammered away after good lineout possession and Poux drove over for his first international try.

Jelez hit the post with the conversion but Australia were well clear by that point and they ran out easy winners.


Australia: Latham, Sailor, Burke, Herbert, Mortlock, Larkham, Gregan, Young, Paul, Noriega, Sharpe, Harrison, Finegan, Smith, T. Kefu.

Replacements: Cannon, Moore, Cockbain, Lyons, Whitaker, Rogers, Flatley.

France: Elhorga, Rougerie, Marsh, Traille, Jean-Jean, Gelez, Michalak, Martinez, Azam, Marconnet, Pelous, Porcu, Betsen, Magne, Harinordoqui.

Replacements: Ibanez, Poux, Brouzet, Labit, Mignoni, Merceron, Jauzion.

Referee: Chris White (England)

See also:

20 Jun 02 | International
19 Jun 02 | International
15 Jun 02 | International
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