Universities defeat France in Paris

The Australian Universities team won its second match of the 2010 France/England Tour with a nail-biting 30-26 victory over the French Univiversities team at stade Mercier, Cobeil Essonnes, Paris, on Friday night 26 November.

The start of the match was delayed by half an hour because the referee had been held up in traffic caused by a snow storm that had hit parts of Paris that evening and whilst stade Mercier received only a light snow fall, the match was still played in freezing conditions.

The French, fresh from two wins over the recently visiting AIS team, started the match well, forcing the Aussies into uncharacteristic errors and were first to score when winger Andreuccetti Noel crossed out wide. A sideline conversion from Five eight Albert Lilian gave the home side a 6-0 lead and Lilian extended it to 8-0 with a penalty kick at the 23rd minute. A fine kicking game from Lilian kept the Aussies pinned down in their own territory and it wasn't until the 26th minute before the visitors could get on the scoreboard when centre Mitch Seaton made a break down the touch line. Fullback Anthony Don, who did not have a happy night with the boot, missed the conversion and the French, who had dominated the half, went to the break in front 8-4.

Thoughts of the Aussies shaking off their lethargy in the second stanza looked to be dashed with the French posting two quick tries in the opening 12 minutes, extending their lead to 18-4.

Aussie five eight and captain Drew Dalton, who had been working hard to rally his troops, was rewarded with a four-pointer to close the gap to 18-10 but another well-placed kick from Lilian resulted in a try to Gautier Damien to keep the French in front 24-10.

However, the Aussies were slowly gaining the ascendancy and when second rower Luke Muttdon barged over at the 26th minute it signalled the start of the Aussie revival. Don was next to score to bring the Aussies to within 4 points of the lead but a dubious penalty to the French allowed Lilian to take his side to a 26-20 lead.

The Aussie attack by this stage had shifted into high gear and a late try to center Jarrod Biggs left them trailing 26-24 with only 2 minutes left on the clock. A sweeping back line play orchestrated by Dalton resulted in winger Adam Hansen crossing in the corner for the match winning try. A Dalton conversion gave the Aussies the lead for the first time in the match and a thrilling victory.

The Aussies voted Adam Hansen Players' Player and Albert Lilian as the opposition Man of the Match, whilst Tommy Butterfield received the French Vote for Man of the Match.

AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES 30 DEFEATED
Tries: Mitch Seaton, Drew Dalton, Luke Muttdon, Anthony Don, Jarrod Biggs & Adam Hansen
Goals: Don 2, Dalton 1
FRENCH UNIVERSITIES 26
Tries: Andreuccetti Noel, Pourret Romain, Doutres Alexandre & Gautier Damien
Goals: Albert Lilian 5