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Rugby World Cup: Five things we learnt from Australia's clash with France

Rugby World Cup hosts France showed their class as they breezed to a 41-17 victory over Eddie Jones’ Australia in Paris.

It was another tough night for the Wallabies and here are five things we might have learnt after the try-fest at the Stade de France.

What2023 Rugby World Cup
When8th September - 28th October 2023
How to watchStan Sport, Nine, 9Now
OddsNew Zealand 3.75, France 4.00, South Africa 5.00, Ireland 5.50, Australia 11.00

A good acid test for Australia

The Wallabies will be left with no doubt about the size of the challenge ahead as they get set to embark on their World Cup journey.

France put out arguably their strongest side to face Australia, as the hosts looked to get their final preparations in place before a mouthwatering showdown with New Zealand in their World Cup opener on 8th September.

Facing a full-strength side that are one of the tournament favourites at 4.00, Jones got to see where his 11.00 shots for the title are at in their development.

The answer might well have not been one the former England boss desired but there were positives to take from the game.

Discipline was the difference

When it comes to tries, Australia were only bested by four tries to three on the night. 

Mark Nawaqanitawase, Fraser McReight and Suliasi Vunivalu all went over for the Wallabies, while Damian Penaud bagged a brace on France’s way to victory.

Scoring three tries away from home should put a visiting team at least in contention for a win but the scoreline certainly didn’t indicate that in the French capital.

The way the scoreline developed becomes clear when looking at the penalty count and that’s where this game was really won and lost. 

France kicked a total of 15 points from penalties, with the pressure they were putting on the Aussie defence taking its toll.

Discipline is something the Aussies will have to look at, as they prepare to meet Wales and Fiji in the World Cup pool stages.

Defence still an issue

With 179 points conceded in Jones’ five games back at the helm, Australia’s defence is certainly a concern going into this World Cup.

Conceding an average of almost 36 points a game makes it very difficult to win Test matches. If Australia are to progress to the latter stages of this major tournament, improving off the ball is going to be key.

Questions on selection will grow

With every defeat there will be more questions asked as to why seasoned internationals Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper were not selected in Jones’ World Cup squad.

Jones might have been looking to make a statement with leaving the likes of Hooper and Cooper out of the squad, but with every loss there will be increased scrutiny regarding why they are not in France right now.

Wallabies need response against Georgia

Australia do have a favourable first outing at the World Cup against Georgia on 9th September and they will be determined to boost morale with a resounding victory.

With Fiji and Wales both securing recent wins over England, those sides will be eyeing another scalp against the Wallabies in the pool stages.

A good performance against Georgia can get Australia back on track, but the defeat in Paris shows there is still plenty of work to be done for this Wallabies side.

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