Wallabies remain winless ahead of World Cup opener

The Wallabies have crashed to a disappointing 41-17 loss to France in their Rugby World Cup warm-up Test in Paris, leaving them with plenty of work before their opening match against Georgia.

Coach Eddie Jones may be ruing his decision to leave a noted goal-kicker out of his starting 15, with rookie five-eighth Carter Gordon missing some crucial kicks at Stade de France.

Australia’s discipline was also a major issue, conceding 14 penalties for France to keep the points ticking over with the team continuing their winless record this year from five Tests since Jones took over.

Halfback Tate McDermott said his team were “letting themselves down”.

“There were a couple of penalties that just relieved pressure and against a team like France, with the skill of their backs, we just gifted them field position and to their credit they capitalised on those errors,” the vice-captain told Stan Sport.

“The solutions have got to come from us – Eddie is doing his best but we’re letting ourselves down out there.

“We’ve got two weeks to find a solution for Georgia because they’re a bloody good side so we’ve got to make sure we front there.”

The Wallabies scored three tries against France’s four but never looked like beating one of the tournament favourites.

They trailed 16-5 at halftime, with Gordon leaving eight points on the field after failing with a try conversion plus two penalty kicks which meant the Wallabies couldn’t apply any scoreboard pressure.

France opened the scoring with blockbusting centre Jonathan Danty crashing over in the sixth minute off a line-out.

Mark Nawaqanitawase was the Wallabies sole try-scorer of the first half, coming off a beautifully-worked set move, with Andrew Kellaway finding the winger with a long pass.

Les Bleus skipper Antoine Dupont set up his team’s first try of the second half with a pin-point cross-field kick into the arms of centre Damian Penaud, who added a second later in the half.

Wallabies flanker Fraser McReight dived across under the posts but France immediately replied through winger Gabin Villiere to push the lead out to a commanding 31-12.

Some positives that Australia can take from their final hit-out was their scrum, which got the better of the French through starting props Taniela Tupou and Angus Bell.

The Wallabies maul, however, was a mess and their line-out sloppy.

Former NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu, who was a shock World Cup selection, also had his best performance in the gold jumper, scoring a 77th minute try.

Heavily involved, he was unlucky to get a yellow card early in the second half after getting tangled at a ruck and pinged for going off his feet.

The Wallabies will now regroup and look ahead to their World Cup opener against Georgia, also at Stade de France, on Sunday September 10 (AEST).

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