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6'8" Will Skelton scores one try, lays on another as Australia whitewash France

The 22-year-old second row was given a standing ovation after a very impressive Wallabies debut.

Skelton scored his first Wallabies try inside 10 minutes.
Skelton scored his first Wallabies try inside 10 minutes.
Image: Rick Rycroft

WILL SKELTON MADE his presence felt on his debut as Australia swept their three-Test series against France with a 39-13 win in Sydney.

Skelton — all 6’8″ of him — scored a try and laid on one for Israel Folau with a deft pass as the Wallabies cleaned up Les Bleus five tries to one.

The towering 22-year-old lock received a standing ovation from the home crowd as he was replaced by James Horwill midway through the second half.

The Wallabies were always in command and played with more verve from the kick-off after last week’s dour 6-0 win in Melbourne to clinch the series after winning 50-23 in Brisbane.

It was the first time since 2000 that the Wallabies have won seven consecutive Tests, while France are still searching for their first win against Australia down under since 1990.

While Skelton grabbed the headlines, Folau’s two tries took his tally to 13 tries in 18 Tests and fly-half Bernard Foley kicked four conversions and two penalties.

The Wallabies showed their attacking intent from the outset and dominated possession and territory.

Foley kicked a third-minute penalty before Skelton monstered his way through Fulgence Ouedraogo’s tackle to score a try on his debut five minutes later.

Les Bleus got their first points off a Brice Dulin long-range penalty after a great French scrum to trail 10-3 after 15 minutes.

Quick thinking by skipper Michael Hooper from the kick-off forced France to concede a penalty for Foley to retrieve a 10-point advantage.

The French went a man down when tighthead prop Rabah Slimani received a yellow card for tackling Hooper without the ball as the Wallabies went on the attack.

A quick tap kick from scrum-half Nic White led to Folau scoring in the corner.

Maxime Machenaud, who replaced regular scrum-half Morgan Parra (ankle injury) before the match, kicked a penalty for the French to trail 20-6 at half-time.

Skelton showed great hands when he delivered a defence-splitting pass for Folau to race away and score his second try two minutes after the resumption for a commanding 27-6 lead.

France lost left winger Hugo Bonneval with a left knee injury as the Australians cranked up a gear before the record 43,188 Wallaby Test crowd at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.

Foley and replacement Kurtley Beale combined to send Hooper racing away to score his team’s fourth try midway through the second half.

The French scored their only try by hooker Guilhem Guirado from a push-over scrum 15 minutes from full-time.

Replacement scrum-half Nick Phipps pounced for the Wallabies’ fifth try off a quick tap penalty in the final minutes to round off a handsome victory.

- © AFP, 2014

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