11 Nov 2012

France thrash Australia

11:55 am on 11 November 2012

Veteran first five Frederic Michalak triumphed on his home return as he inspired the French rugby side to a 33-6 demolition of Australia to end a five-match losing streak against the Wallabies.

Michalak, who had not played on home soil in the French shirt since a Six Nations game against Ireland in 2010, was replaced in the closing stages to a standing ovation after kicking 15 points and brilliantly setting up Wesley Fofana for France's second of three tries.

Philippe Saint-Andre's side relied on an utterly dominant scrum but also the raw power of Louis Picamoles, who scored the first try, to prevail against Australia thanks also to a penalty try and a Morgan Parra penalty.

The visitors, unbeaten against France since 2005, had their chances late in the first half but poor execution meant they left the pitch with only two Mike Harris penalties to show for themselves.

France's biggest win over Australia since a 34-6 victory at the Parc des Princes in 1976 was a huge boost as they look to improve from their fifth place in the IRB rankings ahead of the 2015 World Cup seedings.

The Wallabies, second in the world rankings before kickoff, were without injured winger Digby Ioane, flanker David Pocock, prop Ben Alexander and lock Sitaleki Timani.

Australia continued with Kurtley Beale at flyhalf after the 23-year-old impressed in a 18-all draw against New Zealand last month.

France relied on the experienced Michalak to steer the ship with Maxime Machenaud starting at scrumhalf for his second cap.

France face Argentina in Lille next weekend and Samoa a week later at the Stade de France.

Australia play England at Twickenham next weekend before games against Italy and Wales.