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Wallabies win close match

Monday, June 16, 2014

MELBOURNE - It appeared a case of code confusion when the Wallabies took on France in their second rugby Test in Melbourne on Saturday night.

The teams were locked at 0-0 at halftime in Etihad Stadium - even the Socceroos scored more points in the first half of their opening World Cup clash with Chile in Brazil.

In the opening Test in Brisbane last weekend, the Wallabies had run in four tries by halftime and seven for the match.

The expected free-flowing affair which the 27,000 fans had turned out to watch in the second Test was more of a slow drip.

The last time Australia and their opponents had both been held scoreless in the first half was against New Zealand in 1962. The Wallabies ended up losing that match 3-0.

And the last time Australia and France were locked at 0-0 was in Paris in 1958 with the home side running out 19-0 winners.

Compounding the uncertainty about which code was actually on offer was Australia's heavy reliance on kicking tactics in the first half.

Even tackle-busting fullback Israel Folau was in on the action with one Twitter wag noting: "Folau's had more kicks at this venue playing rugby than he did playing AFL".

The Wallabies tried to bring Folau into the game, looking to continue his stunning record of 11 tries in 17 Tests but the French defence was vastly improved on their first Test showing.

In the opening three minutes of the second half, the Australians had two penalty chances to break the deadlock but halfback Nic White missed both.

Bernard Foley slotted in a penalty goal in the 53rd minute - which brought the biggest roar of the night.

White added another for a 6-0 result with the tryline untouched by either team.

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