Australia 40 – France 10A stunning man of the match performance for the Wallabies by Matt Giteau against a French side who didn’t want to be there, put a deceitful gloss on this performance. Giteau made the final kick or pass for every one of Australia’s four tries:
- A perfectly weighted cross kick to the ever bustling Hynes
- A break through the pack on clean up ball capped off with a blind back flick to an everpresent Horwill
- A flat 2 man miss pass to Ryan Cross
- Another floated cut-out pass to his Western Force team mate
And all of this was washed down with kicking 8 from 8 attempts at goal. It was an impressive game from the Aussie 10, who is settling nicely into the slot between Burgess and Barnes, both of whom also played with promise.
There were other positive indications in the areas of improving Wallabies play which have the Deans hallmark – more accurate and thoughtful kicking from hand (amazing how practicing it seems to work!) and good support for the kick return, giving instant options for the counter-attack.
However, all of this eye-candy has to be balanced out against some tight forward play that is simply worrying. There is no doubt that the scrum is still a shambles. Sure, it won a couple of tight heads against this bedraggled Gallic outfit, but for the whole of the second half it was nothing short of a mess, unable to hold steady on it’s own feed. This was against what must be France’s 4th string front row, with a number 8 at lock and yielding 30kgs to the Aussies.
On top of this, the re-starts were a mess and Burgess continues to fight for his life at the ruck. Against the might of the ABs or the Boks, any strike power this improving Wallaby back-line can offer will be still-born and wasted. Deans must be worried and Foley brushing off the CV.
Tries: Hynes, Horwill, Cross 2
Con: Giteau 4
Pen: Giteau 4
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Peter Hynes, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 Phil Waugh, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Hugh McMeniman, 19 George Smith, 20 Sam Cordingley, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 Cameron Shepherd.
France: 15 Benjamin Thiery, 14 Alexis Palisson, 13 Maxim Mermoz, 12 Thibault Lacroix, 11 David Janin, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Sebastian Tillous-Borde, 8 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Matthieu Lièvremont, 5 Lionel Nallet (captain), 4 Sebastien Chabal, 3 Renaud Boyoud, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Pierre Correia.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Benoit Lecouls, 18 Louis Picamoles, 19 Benjamin Boyet, 20 Yannick Caballero, 21 Dimitri Yachvili, 22 Jean-Baptiste Peyras.
Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Television match official: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Assessor: Andrew Cole (Australia).