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 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.
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.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on