Rugby World Cup: France thump Australia in final warm-up before All Blacks opener

Two tries from flying winger Damian Penaud have helped World Cup hosts France complete their preparations for next month's tournament with a 41-17 victory over Australia - the Wallabies' fifth successive defeat.

It was the kind of statement the French would have hoped to make a fortnight before they kick off the World Cup at the same Stade de France venue, although they only outscored the youthful Australians by four tries to three.

The boot of fullback Thomas Ramos made an emphatic contribution with 16 points, condemning Australia to yet another loss under coach Eddie Jones.

France's wing Damian Penaud dives across the line to score a try during the pre-World Cup rugby union international Test match between France and Australia at Stade de France in Saint Denis, on the outskirts of Paris on August 27, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Jonathan Danty and Gabin Villiere scored France's other tries, while Mark Nawaqanitawase, Fraser McReight and Suliasi Vunivalu were Australian tryscorers.

The test concluded a busy month of warm-up matches that have set up an intriguing tournament from September 8-October 28, which begins with France taking on New Zealand.

France were on the board after seven minutes, with a slick move off the lineout, as Thibaud Flament's catch was swiftly passed down to Antoine Dupont to whip it over to Danty, who burst through three tacklers to go over for a try that looked well-rehearsed on the training pitch.

Within six minutes, Australia hit back, as they sucked in the French defence and then swung the ball out wide to left wing Nawaqanitawase to go over for a simple try in the corner.

Australian errors allowed Ramos to send over a steady stream of successful penalties for a 16-5 halftime lead, as Wallabies flyhalf Carter Gordon missed three first-half kicks.

Sixteen minutes into the second, France scored a second try, with Du Pont's clever crossfield kick falling perfectly for Penaud to casually dot down and open up a 26-5 lead.


The Australians threatened to get themselves back into the game, as McReight burst through the defence to dive under the post for their second try in the 61st minute, after Nawaqanitawase had caught a high ball to set up the opportunity.

Three minutes later, France had their third try, with Matthieu Jalibert's short kick to the corner sitting up perfectly for winger Villiere to score.

Penaud then showed his class, as turnover ball, following another Wallabies handling errors, allowed him to chip the ball ahead, sprint past the defence and collect for a classy score - his 29th test try.

France put the cherry on top, with a long range penalty from Melvyn Jaminet marking the end of the game and taking them past 40 points. 


Join Newshub on September 9 for live updates of the All Blacks v France World Cup opener