Almanac Rugby: Australia v France (The Decider)


With a short turnaround from the disappointing effort on Tuesday night, the Wallabies had to regroup for the decider in Brisbane on Saturday night. Rennie wielded the knife, putting backs McDermott and Daugunu and forwards Naisarani and Swain in the starting XV. With the exception of Daugunu’s early exit with injury, they proved to be inspired decisions. The other three had impact at critical stages in the game.


The match played out in much the same way as the previous two, with the French settling into a routine early on and looking for turnovers. Critically, though, the Wallabies learnt from their errors and applied a lot more pressure at the breakdown and used territory to much greater effect. The French weren’t going to get easy yardage in this do-or-die final test.


While the Wallabies never really exerted sufficient scoreboard pressure, their demeanour was much better in this game. The loss of Daugunu was quickly followed by a controversial red card to Koroibete, leaving the home team to fight out the game with just fourteen men. The French tried on several occasions to expose the Wallabies out wide but the defensive line held extremely well.


Cameron Woki has been a real revelation in this series. He was instrumental in the French U20s winning the World Cup in 2018 and exudes class. His cheeky try besides the upright close to half time brought the visitors level at the break.


It was one try a piece in the second half as the arm wrestle continued. Nothing more than a bee’s dick had separated these two pugilists throughout 200 minutes of rugby. Nobody seriously expected anything different in the last forty.


What was different in the run home was the attitude of the Wallabies. They were more disciplined, more determined and, ultimately, more successful. The final score of 33-30 reflected their desire and hunger to retain the Trophee des Bicentenaires.


The Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship kick off in August. It’s a great thing for Australian rugby that the Wallabies have won their first three-test home series in seven years. It’s also great to see some young talent stepping up when the pressure is on.


Lockdown blues have got to many of us I’m sure. Even if you are not a rugby fan, I hope this spectacle played out between two fine combatants has brought a smile to your face. Mine is from ear to ear at the moment.



The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE



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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Brian, I haven’t watched much Rugby the past few years. Was once a devout watcher of the Wallabies. Somehow I got drawn into watching this series and loved every minute. Far from the best Rugby but close and captivating. Thanks for your reports.

  2. What an enthralling series.
    The Koroibete red-card was a rare low point – thankfully it was overruled by the judiciary.
    Thanks for the reports.

  3. Brian The Ruminator says

    Thanks for the feedback, Luke and Greg.

    As the years roll by on my rugby columns, I’ve found there are quite a few in our community who only dip their toes in when the Wallabies are playing. I’ve always had the view that they are part of a dynamic duo with the Socceroos. The respective domestic comps garner little interest but when we see the green and gold it fires something in us.

    First Bledisloe is on August 7th. Stay tuned.

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