VIDEO: 'It was terribly milked': Wallaby coach fumes over red card
REACTION: Dave Rennie has unloaded on France for milking penalties after Australia played one man down for 75 minutes to beat Les Bleus 33-30 and claim their Test rugby series 2-1.
The 34,164-strong Suncorp Stadium crowd were livid when in-form wing Marika Koroibete was red-carded in the fifth minute for a tackle on French captain Anthony Jelonch in Brisbane.
Referee Ben O’Keeffe and his assistants deliberated for minutes before determining Koroibete had raced in from a distance and contacted him high without any mitigating factors.
The French raced ahead 10-0 but the Wallabies were stoic, fighting back to lead, before Noah Lolesio kicked the hosts clear with 90 seconds to play.
The win was Australia’s ninth-straight at the stadium dating back to 2016 and capped a tight series that had featured two-point wins to both sides in a three-match contest squeezed inside 11 days.
French coach Fabien Galthie twice refused to answer when asked his opinion, instead leaving it for Jelonch who insisted a red card was the “logical” decision.
“We need to protect players safety, but we need to protect the game too.” 👀
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— Rugby on Nine (@RugbyOnNine) July 17, 2021
Rennie was having none of it though, praising their “massive, gutsy” win and taking aim at the visitor’s sportsmanship.
“It was terribly milked wasn’t it,” he said.
“He obviously feels he’s got some head contact then he’s grabbed his face, which is nowhere near the point of impact and it’s delayed by five seconds.”
Rennie confirmed they would fight Koroibete’s charge and said both Tate McDermott and Hunter Paisami could have stayed down after being hit high in what he thought were similar “red card scenarios”.
“But he doesn’t lie on the ground and milk it,” the coach said.
“Every time there is anything like a head shot these guys had been shot by a sniper.
“The issue for us is do we get to the stage we’re telling our players to lie on the ground like the French did every time they’re any head contact.
“I don’t think it’s in the spirit of the game.”
Australia had already lost their other wing, Filipo Daugunu, who injured his arm in a tackle inside the first 90 seconds of his Test return.
French halfback Baptiste Couilloud then ran over his opposite number McDermott for the game’s first try, more cries coming from the crowd when replays showed he led with a high arm to push over.
McDermott had the immediate reply though, racing to link up with Hooper after Noah Lolesio had put the captain through a hole.
A Lolesio intercept try put the Wallabies ahead before a string of unforced errors allowed Cameron Woki to peg one back as the sides went to the break locked up at 20-20.
Pierre-Louis Barassi finished a 90-metre play for a terrific French try but prop Taniela Tupou’s arrival after 46 minutes paid off when he barged over.
They traded penalties after that, both teams missing one each as well, before Lolesio nailed the match-winner.
France had one last crack with a penalty on halfway, but Darcy Swain forced the turn-over after the visitors opted to kick for touch and go for the try.
The Wallabies’ next Test is scheduled for Eden Park against New Zealand on August 7.
“Amazing character; we’re incredibly proud of the boys and it’ll be huge for this group,” Rennie said.
“Tonight was just gutsy, kicked a lot better, defending pretty well
“We’ve been improving, but we’ve got plenty more in us.”