Heavy loss heaps pressure on Robbie Deans

RUSSELL JACKSON
Last updated 18:18 11/11/2012
Robbie Deans
Getty Images
ROBBIE DEANS: The pressure has been ramped up on the Wallabies' coach to keep his job after a 33-6 loss to France in Paris.

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The heat is right back on Robbie Deans after the Wallabies slumped to their biggest defeat by France in 36 years in Paris.

The Australians arrived seeking a record-equalling sixth straight win over the French but left Stade de France humiliated after being comprehensively outplayed in a three-tries-to-none, 33-6 pasting.

The Wallabies' European tour now has the potential to turn into a nightmare for Deans if they replicate the same effort against England at Twickenham in seven days.

England tuned up for the encounter by thrashing Fiji 54-12 and Deans acknowledged they would take plenty of encouragement from watching replays of his team's loss, in which the Wallabies scrum was again exposed by northern hemisphere opposition while the tourists also missed numerous tackles.

"There's no doubt about that," said Deans. "They'll look at that game and will see a lot that will excite them."

The win was France's first over Australia since 2005.

And there was no comfort for the Wallabies in knowing they avoided their equal worst defeat to France by one point - that record came in a 34-6 loss in 1976 at Parc des Princes.

Veteran five-eighth Frederic Michalak kicked 15 of his side's points and created a brilliant try with some dazzling footwork in a No 10 masterclass which justifiably ended in a standing ovation when he was replaced late in the game.

Australia created chances but a combination of poor handling and option taking let them down badly as they went tryless for a second consecutive test. They have scored just 12 tries in 12 Tests this year.

"It was a very complete performance from the French," Deans said.

"They were too good for us tonight. They grew in confidence, it was an arm wrestle for a bit, but they deserved their victory."

Australia's scrum is much-maligned in Europe and did nothing to get the critics of their backs with the French clearly dominating the Wallabies' pack.

The French forwards landed a knockout blow on their counterparts when referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty try in the 64th minute after a tired-looking Australian scrum collapsed on their own line.

"In terms of their scrum, the French grew in confidence, a bit like their game. They were off-loading ball when they got a break in the scoreboard," Deans said.

French captain Pascal Pape said during the week his side wasn't using Australia's record 59-16 win over France last time they met, in 2010 in Paris, as motivation but he admitted post match it was a factor in the build up.

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"We always kept in our minds what happened two years ago in Paris. We didn't want that to happen. So all the group was very focused and determined," he said.

France No 8 Louis Picamoles was up there with man of the match Michalak as the best player on the park, scoring the first try in the 12th minute when he broke from a scrum right on the Wallabies' line to cross with hardly a hand laid on him, although there was a hint of obstruction.

France, who led 16-6 at halftime, scored their second try of the night in the 54th minute through winger Wesley

Fofana who finished a near 50 metre effort sparked by Michalak with his kick return after Kurtley Beale failed to find touch.

- AAP

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