France

Australia take the arm-wrestle

Sat, 14 Jun 2014 11:31
Hooper-v-france
Pointless minutes
Quote-end
It was hailed in the media all week that this was going to be a different match and it really was, the Australians just taking the arm wrestle 6-0
 
On Saturday in Australasia there were two Tests involving top international teams - one in New Zealand and one in Australia. There were similarities between the two matches.

Both matches were played according to the laws of rugby union football. In both matches a team from the Northern Hemisphere played a team from the Southern Hemisphere. And that is where the similarities ended.

In the Test between New Zealand and England, passing and running were the main activities of the two teams; in the Test between Australia and France, kicking was the main activity. The games were chalk and cheese, and the chalk was distasteful.

It seemed that the Wallabies were scared of the French, or at least scared of losing the match, and in their fear they could well have lost it.

They kicked for position  and their rewards were penalty kicks at goal, but they were not much good at that either not till Bernard Foley kicked over a simple penalty after 53 pointless minutes.

Lots of kicking meant lots of line-outs, the vast majority of throw-ins to France. It seemed not to matter to the Wallabies what the quality of the ball was, for they just kicked it. Ball from line-outs, scrums, turnovers - they  were all there for the kicking.

When the final whistle went there was loud booing in the crowd. There is no need to wonder why.

There were no points in the first half and just two penalty gaols in the second. Trying to find something to write about is a problem - discussing stats, talking about line-outs, giving reasons for all the many penalties, what the ground was like. That would waste more time.

Australia had better chances to score than France did. The Wallabies seemed once to have scored but instead they were penalised.  Matt Toomua chipped and chased. He and Dulin were close to the awkward ball.  Dulin and Toomua both fell to ground and Ben McCalman seemed to score but the TMO and the referee agreed that Toomua had played Dulin without the ball and penalised him

That was in the first half. In the second half the Wallabies got close to the line twice.

France also came close in the first half. The first time Bryce Dulin and Matt Toomua chased a ball into the Wallaby in-goal and Toomua won. Then France were close to the line when Toomua dived on a loose ball and won a saving turnover. The French had a great chance to score in the first half when Yannick Nyanga charged down a kick from a ruck by Nic White. He went after the ball which was rolling./bouncing near the Wallaby line but when he bent to pick it up he knocked on.

France missed two kicks at goal in the first half and did not have one in the second half. After White had missed one kick and hit the upright with another, Foley kicked one over when Morgan Parra was penalised for being offside during a Wallaby attack.

The best bit of the match happened at the end as France broke out from inside their own 22  and engaged in lots of clever passing. Mathieu Bastareaud went on the burst and lost the ball. Israel Folau countered but then lost the ball as well, which gave the French one last chance but they were penalised and Toomua kicked out.

Many Australians booed.

The Wallabies may just have confirmed to the people of Victoria that Aussie Rules is more worth watching.

Man of the Match: Our vote goes to Australian fullback Israel Folau, for he tried to run with the ball and excitement seemed more possible when he got it.

Moment of the Match: The final whistle - for it ended the dour, boring encounter.

Villain of the Match: You could choose nobody, anybody or everybody from the two teams.
 
The scorers:
 
For Australia:
Pens: Foley, White
 
For France:
None
 
Yellow card: Bernard le Roux (France, 69 - repeated offences, not rolling away)
 
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Pek Cowan,) 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Pat McCabe.
 
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Rémi Talès, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Menini.
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Nicolas Mas, 19 Bernard le Roux, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Antoine Burban, 22 Frédéric Michalak, 23 Remi Lamerat.
 
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
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