France crash in Sydney
Wallabies continue positive start to the Deans-era
Last Updated: 28/06/08 3:08pm
Giteau: 19-point haul
Matt Giteau scored 19 points to guide Australia to a 34-13 first-Test victory over France in Sydney.
The Wallabies ran in four tries through Giteau, Nathan Sharpe, Rocky Elsom and Stirling Mortlock, and Giteau added the other points through four conversions and two penalties.
Dimitri Yachvili kicked a couple of first-half penalties to keep France in touch at just 10-6 behind at the interval.
But their only points after the break came from debutant winger Alexis Palisson's converted try as they slipped to their heaviest-ever defeat on Australian soil.
France were hampered by the absence of many of their top players due to club commitments, but the makeshift XV made life uncomfortable for their hosts during an error-strewn opening half-hour during which the only points came from a Yachvili-Giteau exchange of penalties.
Playing for just the second time under Kiwi coach Robbie Deans, Australia finally clicked into gear when fly-half Giteau went over the for the opening try four minutes before half-time.
Full-back Cameron Shepherd launched a counter-attack from deep inside his own half before off-loading to winger Adam Ashley-Cooper, who had replaced the injured Lote Tuqiri after half-an-hour.
Ashley-Cooper was eventually hauled down down but the ball was recycled quickly to allow Giteau to slice through for the score.
Yachvili added his second penalty with the last act of the first-half to trim France's deficit to four points.
But the Wallabies swept them aside with 24 unanswered points to start the second-half.
Lock Sharpe barged over from close-range shortly after the restart and, four minutes later, flanker Elsom crossed the whitewash after inside centre Berrick Barnes had been held up over the line.
Mortlock, whose direct running troubled France throughout, added a fourth try on 61 minutes following an interception.
With the result safe, Deans used the final quarter to test out the strength of his bench. France did eventually get a try of their own on 66 minutes through Palisson, a rare high-point on a difficult day for the tourists.
The series concludes with the second Test in Brisbane on July 5.