Australia 52-6 France: Wade Graham scores four tries in routine win
By Benjamin Proe
Last Updated: 03/11/17 12:13pm
Wade Graham became only the seventh player to score four tries in a World Cup match, as heavy favourites Australia duly dispatched France 52-6.
The victory all but ensures the defending champions will top pool A ahead of their final group match against Lebanon next week.
Having had an early Tom Trbojevic effort ruled out by video referee James Child, the Kangaroos stormed into a 10-0 lead with a dozen on the clock, courtesy of two tries in two minutes from second-row Graham
However, on 23 minutes, Aurelien Cologni's men opened their account in sensational style; Tricolours full-back Mark Kheirallah fielding a kick almost on his own line before sidestepping the great Billy Slater to go 90m for an astonishing score.
Remy Marginet's conversion put France within four - but that was as close as the outsiders got, as another quick-fire double on the half-hour mark put the Kangaroos in half-time control
First, Cronulla's Graham helped himself to an 18-minute hat-trick on his first start in Green and Gold - before Josh Dugan found a brilliant dummy, confirmed by the video official as Australia went in 20-6 ahead at the break
Mal Meninga's men added six more in the second half; posting three in nine minutes shortly after the resumption. Cameron Munster - selected after James Maloney left the Kangaroos' camp 24 hours before the match for personal reasons - gave Australia a 20-point advantage, before one-time Wales second row Tyson Frizell atoned for a first-half bombed effort to make it 32-6
With half an hour left, Michael Morgan had the incomparable Slater on his inside, to register a record-equalling 13th World Cup try - and although the Queensland full-back wasted a glorious chance to grab the record outright on the hour mark, he responded with a superb 40/20 kick - from which Graham returned from the bench to grab his fourth four-pointer
With seven minutes to go, Melbourne stand-off Munster grabbed his second on debut, from a brilliant Josh Dugan grubber - before substitute, Valentine Holmes racked up the fifty with Australia's 10th touchdown.
France must now beat England on Sunday week, to keep their World Cup dreams alive.