The second week of the Rugby League World Cup commenced at Canberra Stadium with the Australian Kangaroos flexing their squads depth against an unyielding France side to dominate the second half and win 52-6.
SKIPPER CONTROLS THE FRENCH
The Kangaroos were able to come away from their second pool match against the French with a huge win. The Australian skipper Cameron Smith worked his magic to control the match with the hooker attempting three 40/20 kicks throughout the match but while being unsuccessful with his trademark kicks found tremendous field position holding France on their line until an error was found. Smith showed needed impact with his kicking while both Cooper Cronk and James Maloney were out of the side. The captain will continue to find his form that he left off with in the Telstra premiership, taking the right options in attack while giving sublime service to his halves Smith’s leading well heading to the finals.
WADE GRAHAM BREAKS RECORD
Wade Graham was outstanding in supporting and creating opportunities against France with the second rower picking up four tries with three in the first half with fantastic line running in what was only his second match ever for the green and gold. Graham now has equalled other Kangaroos such as Dale Shearer, Wendell Sailor and Jarryd Hayne for most tries in a match for Australia.The back-rower also broke a 17-year drought being the first player of that position since 2000 to score a hat trick in the first half for the Kangaroos .
INCREDIBLE FRANCE FULLBACK
One of the bright performances from the France rugby league side was from their fullback Mark Kheirallah. The French fullback was defusing short side grubbers and taking the pressure off kick returns, however it was a Smith grubber kick to try find Billy Slater close to the goal line that Kheirallah pounced on the ball quickly before the opposition and broke away with blinding speed out running many Australian defenders to score the only try for the French yet very memorable.
The French side was competing incredibly well for the opening 25 minutes of the match as the score line was within a converted try up until a heavy misjudged kick from the five-eighth Remy Marginet sending the ball out dead giving the Kangaroos a zero tackle set which then they scored off. The French showed their a committed and cohesive side but a lack of discipline off the ball needs fixing if they are to improve this World Cup.
MORGAN AND MUNSTER HALVES
The Kangaroos had changes in the halves going into the fixture with a late withdrawal on game day by James Maloney for family issues, this allowed Cameron Munster to debut in the playmaking role beside Michael Morgan. The two were dynamic with Morgan taking his controlling role that we had come accustom to in finals of the NRL while Munster finished with two tries , tackle breaking for fun and setting up three tries to his edge runners. This pairing was effective alongside Smith at rake and could be a preview to the Queensland spine come 2018.
Australian Kangaroos 52 Tries: Graham (4), Dugan, Munster (2), Frizell, Slater, Holmes Goals: Smith 6/8, Munster /2
Tries: Kheirallah Goals: Marginet 1/1