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Giteau inspires Wallabies to record win over France

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Fly-half Matt Giteau spearheaded Australia to a record 40-10 victory over France in their second rugby Test at Lang Park on on Saturday.


It was a black night for French rugby with Australia posting their biggest-ever victory over the French, eclipsing their 35-12 triumph in the 1999 World Cup final in Cardiff.


Giteau was in mercurial form and could do no wrong, providing the final pass for all of Australia’s four tries and landing all his eight goal attempts — four conversions and four penalties for a match tally of 20 points.


The Wallabies’ huge victory came on top of their previous week’s 34-13 win which was then the biggest winning margin over France in Australia and is a tonic for Australia’s opening Tri-Nations Test with South Africa in Perth on July 19.


“Each week we’ve taken a step and made some progress and the pleasing thing is that we haven’t dropped off the things that we’ve added,” coach Robbie Deans said.


“We’ll lick our wounds and gather a group for the Tri-Nations, we’re very conscious that it will be another level, but these guys are ready for that, we’ve built from week to week.”


French coach Marc Lievremont brought in seven new faces and made a total of 10 positional changes to an already depleted team for the Brisbane Test but it made no difference against the improving Wallabies.


France have not won in Australia since their 28-19 victory in Sydney in 1990 — four tours ago.


But Australia paid a price with replacement back Cameron Shepherd suffering a confirmed broken left leg in the final minute and lock James Horwill (eye) and centre Berrick Barnes (shoulder) taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays.


Giteau was the outstanding player on the field and said it was all about returning to rugby’s basics.


“I think as a side we went back to basics, we played a simpler game plan and that made it easier for myself, and when we keep it simple that’s when we play our best,” Giteau said.


France scored their only try in the final minute with fly-half Sebastien Trinh-Duc backing up a break from fullback Benjamin Thiery.


“I think the French players are looking forward to their vacation, I don’t mean that in a derogative way because they played physically, but in reality they’ve had a long year,” Deans said.


French coach Lievremont said: “It all went very quick, after 10 minutes Australia was leading by 13 points and we were behind for the whole game.


“Our young players were very courageous but it wasn’t enough and there’s a lot of frustration because we are at the limit after a very long 52-week season.”


Quick-thinking Giteau caught the French on the hop with a pinpoint crossfield kick for winger Peter Hynes to score in the sixth minute, and he was again at his best for Horwill’s 36th-minute try.


Giteau jinked past prop Pierre Correira’s tackle and delivered an exquisite flick pass for Horwill to charge away and score with an extravagant swan dive.


The French had a dire start, but the game exploded just a minute before halftime when Australian hooker Stephen Moore and French blindside flanker Matthieu Lievremont came up from a maul swinging punches.


The brawl escalated and Horwill was on the receiving of several fearsome blows from French No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy leaving his left eye in an awful mess.


New Zealand referee Paul Honiss penalised Horwill for escalating the incident and then advised him to go to the sideline to seek medical attention for his bloodied eye. He didn’t return for the second half.


Trinh-Duc kicked France’s first points after the siren as the Wallabies went in at halftime emphatic 26-3 leaders.


Centre Ryan Cross scored two tries after coming on as a replacement in the 57th minute.


Giteau provided the pass for both before the French lost replacement back Benjamin Boyet to the sin bin for a late tackle on debutant wing

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