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France take Australia revenge

France emerged with a 29-26 triumph from a thrilling contest with Australia at the Stade de France to gain a measure of revenge for their summer whitewash Down Under and inflict a first defeat on Wallabies boss Michael Cheika.

Les Bleus established a healthy lead in the first half following tries from Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Teddy Thomas - the latter a superb effort - before Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed to help the visitors back into the game.

The boot of Bernard Foley was also key to the Australian recovery and at half-time the score was 17-16 to the hosts.

Camille Lopez's kicking then kept France in front, as well as a penalty from Rory Kockott that made it 29-19.

Remi Tales was subsequently sin-binned and Australia finished strongly, with Rob Simmons going over, but Cheika's men could not rescue the match.

Including the trio of defeats in June, France went into this contest having been beaten in all but one of their last nine meetings with Australia.

Philippe Saint-Andre's side had begun their autumn internationals by defeating Fiji 40-15 the previous weekend, though, and looked keen from the start here to keep the momentum going against the Wallabies, who had seen off Wales 33-28 last Saturday to make it two wins out of two under Cheika.

Within seven minutes Tillous-Borde nipped around the side of a ruck to score from short range, and then Thomas put his side 15-6 up in sensational style by darting through a clutch of Australia shirts and accelerating forward to notch what was his fourth try in two matches.

Australia subsequently rallied and Ashley-Cooper twisted through two tacklers to pull a try back five minutes before the break.

After the interval, France managed to keep their opponents at bay for much of the time as Lopez (scorer of two conversions and four penalties overall) continued to show accuracy, while Foley (who finished with the same total of points) replied with one effort at the other end.

And although Tales' yellow card and a great try from Simmons made for a nervy final 10 minutes, the hosts were able to hang on.


From Belfast Telegraph