venue: Charlety Stadium, Paris
7th November 2009
Full Match Report
GILLETTE FOUR NATIONS GROUP MATCH
Australia took their time before cruising to victory over France to seal their place in the Four Nations final. They dominated the first half territorially but only produced two tries from debutant Michael Jennings. Luke Lewis and Brett Morris (2) scored after the restart before a breakaway try sealed Jennings' hat-trick.
Olivier Elima got on the end of Thomas Bosc's high ball to score for France before Josh Morris matched twin brother Brett with two late touchdowns. Given their hot and cold performances so far in the tournament, Australia would have wanted to get off to a strong start, but France defended stoutly for the first quarter of the game. Jennings finally broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when he dummied his way through the right-hand side of the French defence and stretched to touch down.
Kurt Gidley came close to a second try shortly afterwards but tried to hold off three challengers and failed. But continued Australian pressure eventually produced another score, again for Jennings in the same area of the field, after he was well set up by Darren Lockyer.
Lewis beat five defenders to barge through the defence and score almost straight from the restart, before a swift double from Brett Morris - both set up by Lockyer - broke French resistance.
Lockyer's long pass set up the first, and his brilliantly judged grubber kick ended up with Morris beating his twin brother in a sprint to touch down in the left-hand corner. Jennings' third came when he sprinted half the pitch after Jarred Hayne's shuddering defensive tackle stopped France in their tracks. Elima got the home crowd on their feet around the hour mark when he got under Bosc's high kick, but the Morris brothers combined to restore Australia's advantage with 12 minutes to go. Jennings then set up Josh Morris for his second and although France kept fighting until the end, the Australian line was rarely under serious threat.
Gidley; B Morris, J Morris, Jennings, Hayne; Lockyer (c), Thurston; Civoniceva, Farah, Hannant, Waterhouse, Hoffman, Hindmarsh. Replacements: Cronk, Lewis, Shillington, Thaiday
Greenshields; Duport, Sadaoui, Raguin, Pelo; Bosc, Wynne; Ferriol, K Bentley, Shead, Elima (c), Touxagas, A Bentley. Replacements: Moly, Gagliazzo, Martins, Griffi