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Sloppy Wallabies lose 29-26 in France

Posted on 01/31/2019 | in 深圳桑拿网 | by

The Wallabies have fallen to their first defeat under Michael Cheika, with the coach admitting surprise they got as close as they did in the 29-26 loss to a spirited France.

深圳桑拿网

A new-look French side took some revenge for their 3-0 series loss in Australia in June with a deserved victory at a packed Stade de France on Saturday.

It ended the Wallabies’ hopes of a European clean sweep and showed they are still very much a work in progress after three games under the new coach.

The matched finished two tries apiece but the Wallabies were always chasing the game.

The tourists fought gamely and almost stole victory after a 74th-minute Rob Simmons try put them within three points but Cheika admitted it would have been unjust.

“I was pretty surprised we were in with a shot towards the end because the way we played probably shouldn’t have put us there,” Cheika said.

“It wasn’t pretty. I think that’s an apt way to describe it.

“Too many simple mistakes at key moments didn’t really give us any opportunity to get on the front foot.

“I think it wasn’t a good effort around the basics of the game.”

While much of the focus had centred on the scrum battle leading into the match in Paris, the Wallabies held their own up front for most of a feisty game that threatened to boil over at times.

Instead it was simple mistakes – in handling, set pieces and decision-making – that cost them.

Australia also struggled to penetrate an aggressive French defensive line as the hosts successfully shut down attacking weapons Israel Folau and Tevita Kuridrani.

Adam Ashley-Cooper and Simmons scored tries in each half, with five-eighth Bernard Foley’s 16-point haul, including four penalties, keeping the Wallabies in the fight.

Australia only trailed 17-16 at halftime, despite France dominating the first period.

After a Sekope Kepu charge down almost led to a try in the first minute it was all the hosts, with Sebastian Tillous-Borde scoring a soft opener in the sixth minute following a James Horwill knock-on.

The try of the match came in the 28th minute when 21-year-old France winger Teddy Thomas, fresh from a hat-trick on debut against Fiji last week, shrugged off five attempted Wallabies tackles to run around under the posts.

With France well on top, the Wallabies hit back on the back of an impressive drive, with Foley breaking the line and linking up cleverly with Ashley-Cooper, who scored his 30th Test try.

The sides traded penalties in the second half and Cheika injected a full set of substitutes, including veteran playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia.

With French substitute Remi Tales yellow carded, Cooper – playing in his first Test this year – helped spark some magic, delivering the ball to send Simmons in under the posts.

“I thought he did quite well when he was out there given the situation of the game,” Cheika said of Cooper’s contribution.

Australia were in France’s line in the dying moments but the comeback fell flat when Ben Alexander lost the ball, handing France a confidence-boosting first win over Australia since a 33-6 triumph at the same venue in 2012.

“It was important to show the world of rugby we can be competitive against the biggest teams in the world,” France coach Phillipe Saint-Andre said.

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