Australia issued a warning to their southern hemisphere rivals ahead of the Tri-Nations series by posting a convincing victory over France at ANZ Stadium. Matt Giteau scored the only try of the night and kicked a perfect six from six with the boot in another commanding performance, while man of the match George Smith dominated at the breakdown.
The Wallabies showed their willingness to attack from the opening whistle but Drew Mitchell was unable to ground the ball in the second minute of play. The try came when Giteau found Stirling Mortlock, who passed immediately to Lachie Turner to slip past Cedric Heymans, before throwing a one-armed ball inside for Berrick Barnes who found Giteau backing up for the converted try and a 7-0 lead.
Lionel Beauxis scored a penalty to trim the deficit to 7-3 midway during the opening half before Giteau's 28th-minute penalty reestablished a seven-point buffer. But having opened up the cushion of a converted try, the Wallabies applied the blowtorch to the visitors with Giteau adding four penalties to that opening try on 17 minutes to put the result beyond doubt. Though Maxime Mermoz did send an early shudder through the Wallabies camp when he swooped on a Luke Burgess pass and set sail for the try-line two minutes into the second half, but the French centre was denied a certain five-pointer after he was ruled offside at the breakdown.
The French's misery was compounded as Giteau made no mistake with the penalty shot to make it 13-3 to the Wallabies at that point. The hosts continued to press in front of 43,588 fans, but committed French defence and poor Aussie handling kept the score down.
AUSTRALIA A Ashley-Cooper; L Turner, S Mortlock, B Barnes, D Mitchell; M Giteau, L Burgess; B Robinson, S Moore, A Baxter; J Horwill, N Sharpe; D Mumm, G Smith, R Brown Subs B Alexander for Baxter, 55 mins; T Polota-Nau for Moore, 60 mins; D Pocock for Horwill, 62 mins; J O'Connor for Barnes, 70 mins; J Valentine for Burgess, 72 mins; R Cross for Mortlock, 76 mins
FRANCE D Traille; M Medard, F Fritz, M Mermoz, C Heymans; L Beauxis, D Yachvili; F Barcella, D Szarzewski, S Marconnet; P Pape, R Millo-Chluski; T Dusautoir, F Ouedraogo, J Puricelli Subs N Mas for Marconnet, 51 mins; J Arias for Fritz, 55 mins; G Guirado for Szarzewski, 61 mins; R Martin for Millo-Chluski, 62 mins;J Dupuy for Puricell, 66 mins
Referee D Pearson (England)