Wallabies finish France off
Wallabies finish France offSHARE
The Wallabies completed a series whitewash against France by handing the visitors a comprehensive 39-13 defeat in the third Test in Sydney on Saturday.
It was a dominant performance from start to finish as they scored five tries to punish a lethargic Frech side that was never able to build any meaningful momentum.
The home side made a bright start to the game, claiming an early French line-out and getting on the scoreboard soon afterwards with a Bernard Foley penalty after Fulgence Ouedraogo was blown up for not rolling away in the tackle.
France had a chance to respond immediately, but Maxime Machenaud's kick hit the upright and the Wallabies punished them by storming into the 22 with big Will Skelton finishing off a patient build-up to stretch and score a try on debut.
France got on the board when fullback Brice Dulin landed a penalty from his own half, but the Wallabies hit back immediately with one of their own from bang in front of the posts to maintain their 10-point lead at 13-3.
Australia kept the pressure on as they continued to dominate territory and possession and things got even worse for France when tighthead prop Rabah Slimani was shown a yellow card for an early tackle on Michael Hooper.
The Wallabies took advantage straight away as the ball was worked wide to Israel Folau who got over in the corner, and Foley's touchline conversion took it out to 20-3.
France were able to double their score when Sekope Kepu was blown up for entering a maul from the side, but the Wallabies took a healthy 20-6 lead into the half-time break after making most of the running in the first 40 minutes.
The home side came out firing in the second half with Skelton showing a deft touch to put Folau through a gap in midfield with a perfectly timed pass for his second try.
The French were staring down the barrel of another big defeat, but they battled to stem the tide as the Wallabies kept them pinned in their own half and the pressure eventually told when a break from replacement Kurtley Beale saw Hooper dive over for their fourth try.
France finally got over the tryline when a powerful driving maul saw hooker Guilhem Guirado crash over to reduce the deficit to 34-13, but it was too little too late and the Wallabies had the final say as replacement scrumhalf Nick Phipps darted over for their fifth try.
Man of the match: Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper was all over the show again and Israel Folau was deadly with ball in hand but the stand-out player was big Will Skelton who showed that he has more than a few skills to go with his massive frame in a memorable debut.
Moment of the match: Skelton's pass to put Folau through for his second try was as impressive as it was unexpected.
Villain of the match: There were none.
Tries: Skelton, Folau 2, Hooper, Phipps
Cons: Foley 4
Pens: Foley 2
Pens: Dulin, Machenaud
Yellow card: Rabah Slimani (France, 25 mins – Early tackle)
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 James Horwill, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Rob Horne.
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Hugo Bonneval, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Menini.
Replacements: 16 Christophe Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Nicolas Mas, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Yannick Nyanga, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Remi Lamerat.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), George Clancy (Ireland)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)