x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Giteau makes difference

The fly-half scores all 22 points as the Wallabies eye Tri-Nations after foiling French bid to win first Test in Australia for 19 years.

Matt Giteau scored the only try of the game as France lost their second consecutive Test.
Matt Giteau scored the only try of the game as France lost their second consecutive Test.

SYDNEY // Fly-half Matt Giteau scored a first-half try and kicked five penalties and a conversion to account for all of Australia's points in a 22-6 win over France in yesterday's Test. Giteau scored the only try of the match in the 18th minute as Australia beat the French for the fourth time in a row and prevented the visitors from winning for the first time in Australia since 1990.

France split a pair of Test matches against New Zealand on their southern hemisphere tour, winning the first 27-22 and losing the second 14-10. Australia won two in a row over Italy over the past two weekends. After Australia led 10-3 at halftime, Giteau kicked penalties in the 44th, 46th, 52nd and 57th minutes to slowly put France out of the match. Australia flanker George Smith, in his 99th Test appearance, was named man of the match.

"It was good tonight, the scrum and the line-out," Smith said. "So we were very pleased with some aspects of the game - it was pretty intense at the breakdown too, but I know we can improve on that." Smith equalled Jason Little's record of 11 Tests for Australia against France, and will likely play his 100th Test against the All Blacks in Auckland on July 18. It was the final Test of the season for France, while the Wallabies, 4-0 this year, have a three-week break before the start of the Tri-Nations tournament against New Zealand and South Africa.

Australia captain Stirling Mortlock said it was a difficult win. "The intensity certainly stepped up tonight," said Mortlock. "Possibly we were our own worst enemies - we had the opportunity to go out wide and we let ourselves down. But it was a good base going into the Tri-Nations." Mortlock said the Wallabies were looking forward to a break after playing matches on four consecutive weekends, including wins over the Barbarians and the two over Italy. "It's good for the boys to have a lay-off," he said. "Everybody gets home to their family for a week or so."

* AP