France break Wallabies' hearts down under
MATCH REPORT: France made history in Australia by beating the Wallabies 28-26 for the first time in 31 years.
*As it happened: Australia v France
The Wallabies looked like they would repeat their opening Test heroics on Tuesday, with Noah Lolesio again stepping up to put his side in front at AAMI Park with a penalty in the 75th minute.
But this time Les Bleus wouldn’t be denied, earning a scrum penalty against the feed with two minutes remaining and fullback Melvyn Jaminet kicking his seventh penalty to earn his team their first victory on Australian soil in 31 years.
With one win apiece, the series will be decided on Saturday night back at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, the scene of the first Test.
While it wasn’t always pretty, the Australians chanced their hands, scoring two tries to one but Jaminet finished with a personal tally of 23 points.
Just like in the first Brisbane Test, the Wallabies let the French skip away to a 10-point lead and were their own worst enemies with some crucial errors.
Despite controlling the bulk of possession and territory the Wallabies failed to convert that into points, with France again dominating the breakdown and forcing 12 turnovers to stem the attack.
Barnstorming wing Marika Koroibete was again among Australia’s best, running for a game-high 136 metres, and was unlucky to be denied two first-half tries.
The only French try came in the 21st minute against the run of play through wing Damien Penaud, with the Jaminet conversion setting up a 13-3 lead.
The Wallabies snatched a vital five-pointer just before halftime when they hammered the visitors’ line before prop Taniel Tupou showed his skills to throw a cut-out pass for scrumhalf Jake Gordon.
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper crossed in the 70th minute to close the gap to four points before Lolesio’s late penalty put them ahead, but France were worthy of the series equaliser.
Man of the match: The French pack was in fine form while scrumhalf Baptiste Couilloud also deserves a mention. For Australia Tom Banks along with Marika Koroibete made some lethal runs. Micheal Hooper was another standout performer and his leadership was also a vital attribute. While for the second week in a row the kicking of Noah Lolesio made sure his team stay in the challenge. However, our nod goes to France fullback Melvyn Jaminet for his match-winning display.
Moment of the match: It was Micheal Hooper’s try in the 70th minute. Australia were trailing 16-25 and lack momentum. However, the try shifted moments and narrows the deficit to just two points with 10 minutes on the clock.
Villain: No one.
Tries: Gordon, Hooper
Cons: Lolesio 2
Pens: To’omua, Lolesio 3,
Pens: Jaminet 7
Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Matt To’omua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Isi Naisarani, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Len Ikitau, 23 Andrew Kellaway.
France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Baptiste Couilloud, 8 Anthony Jelonch (captain), 7 Cameron Woki, 6 Ibrahim Diallo, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 3 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Enzo Forletta, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Killian Geraci, 20 Romain Taofifenua, 21 Sekou Macalou, 22 Teddy Iribaren, 23 Anthony Bouthier.
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)