Australia narrowly beat France 6-0 in the second Test to win the three-match series
Last Updated: 14/06/14 3:56pm
Bernard Foley and Nic White kicked second-half penalties as Australia narrowly beat France 6-0 in the second Test in Melbourne to win the three-match series.
After running in seven tries in the 50-23 first Test thrashing of the French, the Australians were held to a 0-0 half time stalemate at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The tourists missed two penalty attempts while the Wallabies had a try for Ben McCalman denied by the TMO in an opening stanza that featured too much kicking and countless scrum resets.
But Foley finally broke the deadlock with a penalty on 53 minutes and White added a second 12 minutes later to hand the advantage to the hosts.
The visitors were reduced to 14 men when reserve forward Bernard Le Roux was yellow-carded for a breakdown infringement in the 70th minute but White missed his third penalty attempt of the night to leave the tourists in the contest.
Les Bleus had a chance to steal victory after the siren, launching a sustained attack, but they could not crack the committed Wallabies defence as the hosts held on for their sixth-straight Test victory.
But France head coach Phillipe Saint-Andre, who admitted he was ashamed by the first Test defeat, will have been heartened by his much-changed side’s display.
The win sees Australia head to Sydney for the third Test next Saturday with an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
It was quickly evident the ten changes France coach Saint-Andre made to his starting side would result in a far more competitive performance.
As expected Les Bleus flooded the breakdown early and dominated territory and possession as a result.
France full-back Brice Dulin had the first opportunity at putting points on the board but just missed a 51-metre penalty in the 17th minute.
Australia then launched a rare attacking opportunity but were denied a try to McCalman in the 22nd minute when the TMO ruled Matt Toomua took out Dulin attempting to field the ball in his own in-goal area.
There was little to cheer about for either side as the game descended into a kickfest.
Morgan Parra missed a long-range penalty in the 37th minute before Yannick Nyanga blew France's only legitimate chance to score a try moments later.
The imposing flanker charged down a Toomua kick and should have scored but knocked on trying to pick the ball up to leave it locked at 0-0 at the break.
The drought continued on the resumption as White missed two long-range penalties in the opening four minutes.
His second miss hit the post and Adam Ashley-Cooper grabbed the rebound but the Wallabies squandered that attacking opportunity to let the visitors off the hook.
Foley finally broke the deadlock with a penalty that was met by sarcastic cheers from the crowd.
The Wallabies turned down another penalty in the 63rd minute and kicked for the corner but conceded a penalty the very next phase.
Bu they accepted the next gift of three points, White slotting his first penalty goal from directly in front for what proved to be a match-winning lead.
France tour of Australia 2014
Australia take on France in Sydney on Saturday aiming to make it a clean sweep in the three-Test series.
Will Skelton will make his Australia debut in Saturday's third and final Test against France in Sydney.
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made just two changes to his line-up for Saturday's final Test against Australia.