SYDNEY (Reuters) - France were left frustrated after having victory snatched out of their hands in the last few seconds of a test for the third time in seven months during their 23-21 loss to Australia in Brisbane on Wednesday.
The understrength tourists led from the sixth minute at Lang Park but messed up a clearance from their own lineout with 80 minutes on the clock to allow Australia's Noah Lolesio to claim the spoils with a last-gasp penalty kick.
The dramatic climax had echoes of the "golden point" loss to England in the Nations Cup final last December and the 27-23 defeat to Scotland in Paris that cost France the Six Nations title in March.
"We are very frustrated," said captain Anthony Jelonch. "Even if we weren't perfect, we could have won it and probably deserved it.
"Tonight we missed out in the last minute once again. The Nations Cup final scenario at Twickenham repeated itself."
Despite the frustration, Jelonch said there were a lot of positives to take out of the match ahead of the second test in Melbourne on Tuesday for a side without most of their regulars which had just come out of quarantine.
"I'm very proud of the team, of everything the guys have shown," he added.
"We told ourselves that we had to be in the physical contest. We were. We made these Australians doubtful and that's something to be satisfied about. On Tuesday, we will do everything to have another big game and win it this time."
Australia have also had problems closing out matches since Dave Rennie took charge last season with Reece Hodge missing late penalties that left the Wallabies with two draws against Argentina and another against the All Blacks.
Rennie was delighted to finally have a second win on the board in his time in charge but accepted his side had a lot of work to do after an error-strewn performance.
"We made hard work of it didn't we?" said the New Zealander.
"There was a lot of character shown by the boys and we got the job done in the end.
"It was a little bit scratchy, a little bit inaccurate and if we can tidy that up we can put more pressure on them and hopefully turn that into points.
"We certainly created opportunities but we've got to be better."
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)