Wallabies give French the blues in first Test

Australia opened their 2014 international season in style as they scored seven tries to two to dominate a woeful France 50-23 in the first Test on Saturday.

The Wallabies overcame the loss of new captain Stephen Moore in just the third minute to overwhelm the French and send a message to rivals New Zealand, who struggled to beat England 20-15 in Auckland earlier Saturday.

The final scoreline flattered the French, who were down 50-9 before scoring two late tries with the game well and truly over.

The Wallabies scored four tries in the first half and three more in the second as the French wilted in the face of the rampant Australian attack.

“We wanted to win the first Test of the season, it’s not something we’ve done for a number of years,” Australian coach Ewen McKenzie said.

“I think seven tries is a good indication of the intention (of the Wallabies).”

McKenzie said Australia were made to work hard for the win despite the size of the scoreline.

“We didn’t have it all our own way, we just had to keep at it,” he said.

“Some of the tries were just the result of good pressure, consistent pressure.

“Once we got in front on the scoreboard it was a matter of discipline, and we did pretty well there.”

More than 33,000 fans turned up to watch the match at the Suncorp Stadium, played in almost perfect conditions.

The turn-out was lower than expected thanks largely to the absence of Queensland scrumhalf Will Genia, who was dropped from the 23-man squad and replaced by Nic White from the ACT Brumbies.

But the untested halves combination of White and Bernard Foley were superb, combining brilliantly with the equally untested inside centre Matt Toomua.

They were so dominant that McKenzie was able to rest White and Toomua with 15 minutes remaining.

The Wallabies hardly missed a beat, with replacement backs Kurtley Beale and Pat McCabe both scoring spectacular tries.

France had started brightly enough and played some enterprising rugby in the opening stages.

“For the first 15 minutes we were competitive with the pace of the game but then we started to commit a few errors and we fell away,” French coach Philippe Saint-Andre said.

Saint-Andre conceded he had been surprised by how well the Australians had come together after only one week in camp.

“They gelled quite well very, very quickly,” he said.

“They didn’t panic, they were well organised all the time and they were very strong in the contact area. In the one to ones I think they won 70-80 percent of the collisions.”

Once the Australians settled into the match they quickly began to take control, dominating both possession and territory.

Fullback Israel Folau continued his remarkable try-scoring record when he brushed aside Yoann Huget to cross out wide for his 11th try in just 16 Tests.

Right winger Adam Ashley-Cooper and flanker Michael Hooper added to the try-scoring against an increasingly despondent France.

On the stroke of half-time centre Matt Toomua took advantage of some comical French defending when he fell on the ball for a try after French scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud twice failed to ground the ball over the line.

The French held out for 17 minutes in the second half but the Wallabies weren’t to be denied as winger Nick Cummins added the fifth try after some good lead-up work from Toomua and Folau.

Beale and McCabe then both crossed after some superb backline work and a record winning margin was on the cards.

However, the French bravely battled back, with Morgan Parra barging over for a five-pointer, before they were awarded a penalty try right in full time after the Wallaby scrum disintegrated.


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