Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Fijian wingers score in Wallabies loss

Fiji-born dual cross code Suliasi Vunivalu and NSW Waratahs star Mark Nawaqanitawase scored a try each in Wallabies 41-17 loss to France in their final warm-up match in Paris on Monday.

The Eddie Jones-mentored Wallabies had the chance to make a quick start after receiving a penalty but Carter Gordon failed to convert it into points in the fifth minute.

Three minutes later, France started fast with a try to Jonathan Danty which Thomas Ramos converted in front of a spirited home crowd.

The Australians were undeterred and their pressure was rewarded when Andrew Kellaway found Nawaqanitawase in the corner to touch down but Gordon failed with the conversion attempt and their second penalty.

It was an excellent opening half for Ramos as he brilliantly slotted three consecutive penalties for France to give them a 13-5 lead at the break.

 However, France had a slow start in the second half when Ramos missed a penalty before the Australians were reduced to 14 men when Vunivalu copped a yellow card for a professional foul.

The home side was awarded a penalty and this time Ramos got back to booting it between the uprights and France continued to pile more points with their second try to Damian Penaud and Ramos added the additional for an impressive 26-5 lead in the 58th minute.

It was Fraser McReight, who gave the visitors some hope when he dived over, splitting the gap thanks to a great Tate McDermott box kick that was collected by Nawaqanitawase and Gordon converted for 12 points.

But Australia’s joy was short-lived as the French answered with two back-to-back tries from Gabin Villiere and Penaud bagged his double but Melvyn Jaminet converted once.

Returning from the sin bin after 10 minutes of rest, Vunivalu got a consolation try for the Wallabies with three minutes to go but Gordon failed to convert and Jaminet booted a penalty to seal the win for France.

Australia will open its Rugby World Cup campaign against Georgia on 10 September.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com


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