Rampant Aussies demolish France

Sat, 27 Nov 20:55:00 2010

Drew Mitchell scored a hat-trick as a second-half onslaught from Australia saw them humiliate their hosts 59-16 at the Stade de France.

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They ended the November Tour in style with their speed too much to handle for the hosts, who collapsed after the break and looked vulnerable ahead of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Australia, who were thrashed by England two weeks ago, tore the French apart as Adam Ashley-Cooper, Benn Robinson, Will Genia, Drew Mitchell (3) and James O'Connor went over the line.

France scored with a penalty try and three penalties by Morgan Parra but it was little consolation after the Australians celebrated following their defeat of Italy last Saturday.

It was France's worst performance against Australia after they were thrashed 40-10 in Brisbane two years ago.

Robbie Deans's toursits needed to lift their performance again and they delivered in the cold as the temperatures plummeted below zero at the Stade de France.

It was France's powerful pack versus Australia's speed and although the visitors suffered at the scrum they came out on top as Les Bleus collapsed in the second half.

France, boasting their trademark powerful pack and their huge backline with Damien Traille, Yannick Jauzion and Aurelien Rougerie at 10, 12 and 13, were on the back foot from the start.

James O'Connor, who missed the previous test due to personal leave, whizzed through the midfield and put Ashley-Cooper over under the posts, with O'Connor adding the extras.

Parra cut the deficit with a penalty in the home side's first attack, only for O'Connor to restore a seven-point lead with another penalty as Les Bleus were caught offside.

Parra's 40-metre penalty struck the post but the Clermont number nine soon kicked another one to trim the gap.

But Australia were too lively for France, who were pulled up for offside yet again for O'Connor to slot over.

The French, however, had their monster scrum to rely on and and they did so at the half-hour mark.

The Wallabies popped up the scrum, they pulled it down and France were eventually rewarded when they got a penalty try with Parra slotting over a routine conversion to level the contest.

It got even worse for Australia as they had prop Ben Alexander sin-binned in the process.

However, the tourists continued to unsettle the French defence with nicely built attacks and deft kicks.

A Parra penalty early in the second half put France ahead for the first time but two tries in quick succession gave Australia the edge.

For once, their scrum stood firm with Rocky Elsom and Ashley-Cooper coming within centimetres of the line, and loose head Benn Robinson powered over.

Then Will Genia picked up the ball from the ruck following a couple of hand-offs by Ashley-Cooper as Australia got a firm grip on the game, with Connor adding another penalty to make it 30-16.

France were by now struggling to keep pace and Drew Mitchell powered down the left wing to touch down, doubling his tally shortly afterwards.

Mitchell completed a hat-trick when Rougerie dislodged the ball from Elsom's hands as the Australian was trying to touch down. Mitchell had followed his captain and grabbed his third try on a memorable night for Australia.

O'Connor then added five points to his kicking tally in the dying minutes as he dived over the line following a rush down the right flank.

PA Sport

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