France lost their second match on the road against the Australian Wallabies in Brisbane. Despite their ball possession, 'les Bleus' were not fit enough to challenge the Aussies in their 15 metres.
Australia believe they are ready to challenge South Africa and New Zealand for the Tri-Nations title after finishing off their preparations with a 40-10 thrashing of France on Saturday.
New Wallaby coach Robbie Deans said his team had shown steady improvement in each of their three matches since he took charge and were primed for a big showing in the Tri-Nations.
"Each week we are taking steps and making some progress," Deans told a news conference.
"We're very conscious that the next arena will be very different. It will be another level, there's no doubt about that, but the guys are ready for that."
The Australians are unbeaten in those three matches, defeating Ireland 18-12 in Melbourne then France 34-13 last weekend, but Saturday's test was easily their best performance so far.
Their forwards set up the platform for the new halfback partnership of flyhalf Matt Giteau and scrumhalf Luke Burgess to combine effectively.
Giteau kicked eight goals from as many attempts and had a hand in each of Australia's four tries, two by replacement centre Ryan Cross and one each from wing Peter Hynes and lock James Horwill.
Back to basics
"I think that as a side we just went back to basics tonight. We played a simpler game plan and that's what works best for
us," Giteau said.
"There's no doubt we're starting to get a lot more cohesion now."
While Deans was reluctant to put too much emphasis on the result because the French were not at full strength, he saidthe match was still a very physical test.
Reserve fullback Cameron Shepherd broke his left leg while Horwill (eye) and inside centre Berrick Barnes (shoulder) were both taken to hospital for scans.
"They've (France) had a long season," Deans said. "I think they're looking forward to their vacation.
"But whilst the French are looking forward to going home they still make you earn it...which is shown by the casualty list."
France coach Marc Lievremont was forced to name a relatively inexperienced team for the match after most of the country's top players stayed at home due to club commitments.
"Our young players were courageous but that wasn't enough," he said, speaking through a translator.
"We prepared for this game thinking we could win but the Australian team made us face reality.
"It's hard to be happy after losing by 30 points but there is still some satisfaction. Some individuals did well."
Date created : 2008-07-05