Another game, another inexplicable gut-wrenching loss for France.
France lost to Australia in the cruellest fashion in the first game of their three-test series after it looked beyond all doubt like Les Bleus had secured the victory.
The French led from the sixth minute of the game to the very last act of play, when young Australian fly-half Noah Lolesio kicked a penalty to clinch a 23-21 win for the Wallabies in Brisbane.
However, it was what happened a couple of minutes before Lolesio’s game-winning penalty which will have elicited responses of both despair and confusion from French fans.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) July 7, 2021
Comedy of errors from an inexperienced French side.
France had a lineout throw 40 metres out from their own try line with a one-point lead, and with the clock in the red, all they had to do was secure possession and kick the ball out of play.
They were able to get the first part right, as they batted the ball back onto their side of the pitch from the lineout, and when replacement scrum-half Teddy Iribaren got his hands on the ball it looked to be all over for the Wallabies.
Iribaren was put under pressure from the onrushing Wallabies defence however, and he passed to fullback Melvyn Jaminet, who then again attempted to pass to winger Damien Penaud.
Unfortunately for Jaminet, the ball missed Penaud and instead ended up in the hands of Wallabies replacement scrum-half Tate McDermott deep inside the French 22.
Australia were able to recycle possession and after an extended period of time metres out from the French tryline, France were caught offside right in front of their goalposts, which handed the Wallabies a penalty to win the game.
Oh my France! Clock in the red, 1 point up, just catch it and kick it out and you beat Australia…… non non non non non this is how we do it……. pic.twitter.com/0JHJz9dtIO
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) July 7, 2021
Plenty of positives for France despite disastrous finish.
The loss to the Wallabies was the second French defeat in a row in which they would had a chance to end the game with the clock in the red, after fullback Brice Dulin opted against kicking the ball out of play against Scotland in this year’s Six Nations.
While the finish from the visitors was disastrous, France did play quite well, especially considering as they were missing their players from both Toulouse and La Rochelle due to their involvement in the Top 14 final.
The tour has been earmarked by the French as a way of testing their strength in depth and developing young players, as only three players in their 42-man squad have more than 20 caps.
France stormed out to a 15-0 lead after 25 minutes thanks to two tries from winger Gabin Villiere, before Australia slowly clawed themselves back into the game to eventually secure a 23-21 victory.
Fabien Galthie’s side still have a chance to win their three-game series with the Wallabies, but the French will now need to win the remaining two tests Down Under.