Almanac Rugby Union – Australia v France First Test: A lucky escape


International test rugby kicked off on a Wednesday night in the Wallabies fortress in Brisbane. A French side missing many of its stars was meant to be pushovers. In a frenetic opening, they proved to be quite the opposite.


Les Bleus kept the ball in hand early and made good ground with each phase. The Wallabies’ defence didn’t set up well and the wall was breached soon thereafter.  Conceding a try within the first ten minutes would surely jolt the locals into action.


It did have some effect. A promising attacking foray almost squared the ledger with a Paisami try disallowed after a forward pass.


That proved to be a false dawn as the dominance the French had on the stats sheet produced more points when a simple inside ball off the back of a strong scrum led to their second try. It was Villiere again for his brace.


The visitors were still controlling the pace of the game when a Wallabies rolling maul put Paenga-Amosa over late in the first half. We went to the break 15-7 down.


Our backrowers got involved and built momentum early in the second half. The men in their new official gold guernseys took advantage of territory gain and got the 3 points at the 43 minute mark.


Several pick and drive plays by the French brought about a penalty for easy points to get  them to 18 – 10. Tit for tat penalties around the 60 min mark got the score to 21 – 13.


Tate McDermott made a  huge impact off the bench by holding up passes to create gaps. He almost got a couple through but it was the skipper, Michael Hooper, who scored the try with the conversion giving us a 1 point game.


In the frenetic last few minutes we had a missed drop goal at the 76 minute mark, followed by a Paisami cross field kick that came close to putting a man over but ended up out on the full.


When Naisarani got isolated in a last roll of the dice ruck, it looked curtains. However, the drama was just getting started.


When the French won their lineout on full time they tried to run the ball out. A disastrous loose pass was scooped up. Gold ball! They pressed hard near the French line and nabbed an offside penalty.  The easy 3 points sealed a last gasp win 23 – 21.


The Wallabies were lucky to get this win. The French were the better team for most of the game.  However, perhaps we may see a chastened team come to Melbourne and prove they really are capable of regaining respect in the rugby world. Our guests have proven to be worthy opponents so for that we can all be grateful. Bring on Tuesday night.


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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. Yes, lucky to get away with it in the end. In the moment, the French fluffed it. Some, on the other hand, might argue that the rub of the green evened out in the end. Let’s hope for a better effort next time out.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    Saw the half time score then revisited with 3 minutes to go. I’m fairly ignorant of most things Rugby but trying to follow what was going on in the last stanza was beyond me. Having lost the ball, was there anything else the French could have done to save the game?

  3. Win the lineout, kick it out, hit the showers. Sounds simple when you put it like that!

    I do love the slog of continuous phase play on the try line in the dying minutes of any game.

    The French were still clinging on by a fingernail when they turned over the lineout ball, but once we got playing with the penalty advantage they were done (pending a missed kick).

    Both sides will be better for the outing.

  4. P.s. Thank you for the write-up of a cracking game.

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