Australia thrash France
Australia went 1-0 up in their June Test series against France as they romped to a 50-23 victory at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
France have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since 1990 and, based on this performance, they are unlikely to change that record in this three-Test series.
Despite losing skipper Stephen Moore in the early stages, the home side touched down seven times before the French snatched two consolation tries in a benchmark rout that further tarnishes Philippe Saint-André's dismal track record.
The impressive Wallabies led 29-9 at the interval as four unanswered tries from Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Michael Hooper and Matt Toomua saw the hosts race ahead.
The French defence was woeful. Australia were hardly playing sensational rugby but sloppy tackling and a few horrific errors from the visitors gifted the Wallabies a massive head start for the second half.
Unable - more like unwilling - to compete at the breakdown, <i>les Bleus</i> allowed the Aussie pack to give their backs quality ball far too cheaply. Worse still, PSA's troops offered very little on attack.
After the break, the French got stuck into the rucks with far more venom and could stem the tide until just before the hour mark, when Nick Cummins added his name to the list of scorers, but the tourists never seriously threatened to cross the whitewash until Morgan Parra's late consolation score and penalty try in the final minute.
By that time the Wallabies had already reached the 50-point mark as Kurtley Beale and Pat McCabe came off the bench to rub salt into the French wounds with tries in the last quarter.
A neat drop-goal from Frédéric Michalak in reply to Bernard Foley's opening penalty levelled the scores early on, but is would be almost one-way thereafter.
Folua landed the first blow at the end of the first quarter, beating three defenders to cross.
Shortly afterwards Gaël Fickou came out of the French line looking for an intercept, allowing Ashley-Cooper to go in untouched off Toomua's offload.
Hooper added number three with a little help from the TMO who persuaded referee Craig Joubert that Tevita Kuridrani tap-on hadn't gone forward.
The fourth try, just before the break, was almost comical as debutant Felix le Bourhis fumbled on his line, then fumbled again in-goal as he tried to gather the loose ball, only to see Toomua pounce.
Foley added his third conversion to give Australia a 20-point lead, and the result was essentially sealed before the half-time hooter.
Australia could bide their time as France tried to get back into the game after the restart. But Folau went clear out wide before finding Cummins on the switch for an excellent try to kill off any hopes of a comeback.
Beale cruised over for number six thanks to a break from Kuridrani before Folau beat Wesley Fofana and set McCabe free out wide for number seven.
Parra scored off the restart to salvage some pride for the XV de France, who finished on a positive point as their scrum earned a penalty try with the last play of the game.
But France will have to make a massive step up next week if they hope to keep the series alive.
Tries: Folau, Ashley-Cooper, Hooper, Toomua, Cummins, Beale, McCabe
Cons: Foley 6
Tries: Parra, Penalty try
Cons: Michalak 2
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 James Horwill, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Pat McCabe.
France: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Felix le Bourhis, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 3 Nicolas Mas (c), 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Antoine Burban, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Remi Lamerat, 23 Brice Dulin.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)