Israel Folau stars as Australia thump France 50-23 at Suncorp Stadium
Ewen McKenzie’s side delivered a slick performance on Saturday, claiming seven tries to ensure they ran out comfortable victors in their first outing of 2014.
Folau got the ball rolling in the 19th minute, beating two defenders before crossing, and Australia were 29-9 ahead by the interval.
The hosts ran in another three tries in the second half, with Folau supplying assists to Nick Cummins and replacement winger Pat McCabe.
France hit back with two tries in the final seven minutes, including a penalty try from an attacking scrum, but will be aware significant improvement is required ahead of next Saturday’s second Test in Melbourne.
Prop James Slipper celebrated his 50th Test for Australia with a standout performance, while debutant lock Sam Carter also impressed and earned man-of-the-match honours.
Fly-half Bernard Foley kicked six from seven with the boot and was excellent in general play, while Michael Hooper was also superb at openside flanker after taking over the captaincy from Stephen Moore early in the contest.
It was an unhappy night for new skipper Moore, who suffered a suspected medial ligament strain in his left knee after only two minutes.
Moore fell awkwardly in an attempted tackle on flanker Bernard Le Roux and limped from the field in the sixth minute after trying to play through the pain.
France, who are set to welcome back several key players next week, responded to an early penalty from Foley through Frederic Michalak’s drop goal.
The Wallabies then benefited from a decision to turn down a kickable penalty as Folau dummied and slipped past two defenders for the game’s first try.
Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed five minutes later and France were left with a mountain to climb as Hooper and Matt Toomua also went over.
Following a scrappy start to the second half, Australia then made the game safe with their best try of the night in the 56th minute.
Cummins was the man to apply the finishing touch after Ashley-Cooper and Folau had combined in a lovely set move.
Folau then made a break and sent McCabe over the tryline with his first touch, but France at least finished on a high.
Morgan Parra grabbed a consolation in the 73rd minute and the scoring was completed with a late penalty try converted by Michalak.
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