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Wallabies edge low-scoring contest

Australia survived a frantic finish to hold on for a scrappy 6-0 victory over France at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Neither side could manage a single first-half point, with France missing two penalty attempts while the Wallabies had a try for Ben McCalman denied by the TMO in an opening stanza that featured too much kicking and countless scrum resets.

Bernard Foley finally posted the first points in the 53rd minute with a penalty and Nic White added another three points 15 minutes from full-time to extend to a 6-0 lead.

The visitors were reduced to 14 men when reserve forward Bernard Le Roux was yellow-carded for a breakdown infringement in the 70th minute but White missed his third penalty attempt of the night to leave the tourists in the contest.

Les Bleus had a chance to steal victory after the siren, launching a sustained attack, but they could not crack the committed Wallabies defence as the hosts held on for their sixth-straight Test victory.

The win sees Australia head to Sydney for the third Test next Saturday with an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

It was quickly evident the 10 changes France coach Philippe Saint-Andre made to his starting side would result in a far more competitive performance than last week's 50-23 drubbing in Brisbane.

As expected Les Bleus flooded the breakdown early and dominated territory and possession as a result.

France full-back Brice Dulin had the first opportunity at putting points on the board but just missed a 51-metre penalty in the 17th minute.

Australia then launched a rare attacking opportunity but were denied a try to McCalman in the 22nd minute when the TMO ruled Matt Toomua took out Dulin attempting to field the ball in his own in-goal area.

There was little to cheer about for either side as the game descended into a kickfest.

Morgan Parra missed a long-range penalty in the 37th minute before Yannick Nyanga blew France's only legitimate chance to score a try moments later.

The imposing flanker charged down a Toomua kick and should have scored but knocked on trying to pick the ball up to leave it locked at 0-0 at the break.

The drought continued on the resumption as White missed two long-range penalties in the opening four minutes.

His second miss hit the post and Adam Ashley-Cooper grabbed the rebound but the Wallabies squandered that attacking opportunity to let the visitors off the hook.

Foley finally broke the deadlock with a penalty that was met by sarcastic cheers from the crowd.

The Wallabies turned down another penalty in the 63rd minute and kicked for the corner but conceded a penalty the very next phase.

They accepted the next gift of three points, White slotting his first penalty goal from directly in front for what proved to be a match-winning lead.


From Belfast Telegraph