Mon, Nov 17, 2014 - Page 18 News List

NOVEMBER INTERNATIONALS: France edge the Wallabies in thriller

AP, PARIS

Australia center Rob Horne, left, vies for the ball with France winger Yoann Huget, right, during their game at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

France beat Australia 29-26 in a thriller at Stade de France on Saturday to avenge three losses against the Wallabies in June and earn a big fillip less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.

The French blew an early 17-6 lead, going into the break up by one point.

They stayed in front with four penalties in the second half, but could not pull away, and were down to 14 men in the closing minutes when their lead was cut to three points in the 76th after a converted try from lock Rob Simmons.

Australia kept the pressure on against a tiring France, taking their attack to in front of the France posts. France held and were able to bathe in the victory when Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia was penalized for offside.

“This was a very important match to show the whole world that we are able to compete with the best teams,” France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said.

The Wallabies did not help themselves with handling mistakes and turnovers, while France kept up the pressure with a kicking game and swarming defense, and just did enough as both sides scored two tries each.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said. “Too many simple mistakes at key moments. It didn’t really give us any opportunity to get on the front foot. It wasn’t a good effort around the basics of the game.”

WALES, FIJI

AP, CARDIFF

Wales were made to look second-rate by Fiji again as they failed to fully exploit a man advantage in eking out a 17-13 win in a poor Test at Millennium Stadium.

Wales sent their wingers flashing over for tries in the first quarter, and the expected romp looked on.

However, they lost control by constantly turning over possession in ball-jolting tackles. The scrum and lineout, powerful in the first half, became unreliable in the second.

Wales led by a flattering 17-6 at halftime, but could not score again, despite being a man up after Fiji prop Campese Ma’afu was sent off in the 52nd minute.

Fiji played their best rugby in the first half, and to their credit, did not implode after Ma’afu left. However, they kicked or threw away too much hard-won possession. A converted intercept try two minutes from the end gave the scoreline a fair reflection of the game.

TONGA, US

AP, GLOUCESTER, England

A three-try burst in six minutes raced Tonga away from the US in a 40-12 rugby win at Kingsholm.

Tonga conceded an early try to the Eagles before edging ahead 14-12 by halftime. It was still that score when Tonga erupted with three quick tries, to No. 8 Viliami Ma’afu, fullback Vunga Lilo and winger David Halaifonua. Kurt Morath converted two and Tonga suddenly led 33-12.

With a late converted try, their fifth, to captain Nili Latu, Tonga won a second successive Test for the first time in 18 months.

The US started and finished the first half with tries to wing Tim Stanfill and flanker John Quill.

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