Late call-up Bernard Foley earns Australia narrow win over France

Outhalf only made the side after Quade Cooper was ruled out late on with an ankle injury

Australia outhalf Bernard Foley  runs in to score his side’s second try during the international match against  France at Stade de France  in Paris. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Australia outhalf Bernard Foley runs in to score his side’s second try during the international match against France at Stade de France in Paris. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

France 23 Australia 25

France missed an injury-time drop goal as stand-in outhalf Bernard Foley inspired Australia to a 25-23 win at the Stade de France on Saturday, their third consecutive victory in the autumn internationals.

Foley, handed a starting place after Quade Cooper was ruled out through injury at the last minute, scored a try and kicked 10 points as Australia followed up their victories against Wales and Scotland.

Tevita Kuridrani touched down for Australia who were also awarded a penalty try.

France, who produced some scintillating rugby at times, replied with tries by Virimi Vakatawa, Jean-Marc Doussain and Wesley Fofana. The rest of their points came from the boot of Maxime Machenaud.

Machenaud, however, missed two conversions and Camille Lopez failed with a dramatic last-gasp drop-goal attempt.

“He didn’t try most of the week thinking he would be with the replacements but he did a good job out there,” Australia coach Michael Cheika told a news conference when asked about Foley.

“He knew the moves but there is a mindset you must have before such a game.”

Australia rested most of their top guns with Israel Folau, Michael Hooper and Dane Haylett-Petty not even on the bench.

They were also without influential outhalf Cooper who was ruled out with an ankle injury after failing a late fitness test.

Foley became the only player to start all Australia’s Tests in 2016 while Jono Lance was promoted to the bench.

France, who started the autumn internationals with a 52-8 win against Samoa last Saturday, were without outhalf Francois Trinh-Duc who has been ruled out of the rest of the series with a broken forearm.

The hosts went ahead with Machenaud’s first penalty. A splendid try by Vakatawa put France 8-0 up, the Fijian-born wing going over the line after expertly keeping possession through several phases of play.

Australia responded with the first of the penalties from Foley who then converted a penalty try awarded by referee Glen Jackson after Charles Ollivon collapsed a maul on the line, the French flanker picking up a yellow card in the process.

Foley soon extended the lead to five points with another penalty.

Australia suffered in the scrum and were penalised on the stroke of half-time, Machenaud reducing the gap to two points with a penalty.

The Wallabies were hot on the restart, Foley touching down after going through a gap in the French defence before adding the extras.

France seemed to suffer physically but they had some magic in store, winning an Australian scrum in their own five metres out on the right and swinging the ball to the left before Doussain, after fine work by Fofana and Vakatawa, went over the line.

The visitors hit back with a try in the right corner by Kuridrani, but France refused to buckle. Fofana found the right line to the posts and after Machenaud converted the try, Les Bleus were two points behind.

Lopez missed an injury-time drop goal, leaving France agonisingly close to victory.

Next Saturday, France will take on New Zealand and Australia head to Dublin to face Ireland.

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