The Wallabies have suffered an agonising one-point loss to France in Paris, with the hosts clinching the lead in the dying moments of Sunday morning’s nailbiting contest.

Australia was leading 29-25 when French winger Damian Penaud dived over for a soft try in the 76th minute, bursting through a couple of tackles to put Les Bleus ahead on the scoreboard.

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And the Aussies never recovered, ultimately losing the Autumn Nations Series match 30-29, marking France’s 11th straight Test victory.

“Just heartbreaking,” former Wallabies flyer Kurtley Beale said on Stan.

“The Wallabies had a lot of opportunities to win that game, and a quality team like the French are going to make you pay. There was ill-discipline at the ruck and some missed opportunities.

“They’ll be hurting for sure.”

Wallabies fullback Jock Campbell, who missed a crucial tackle in the decisive moment, confessed he was “pretty shattered” following the defeat.

“To lose the way we did, I’m pretty shattered,” he lamented.

“Just missed a tackle at the end, me and Tommy. It comes down to that really. I’ll cop that on the chin and move on.”

Former Australian winger Drew Mitchell criticised Wallabies coach Dave Rennie for repeatedly experimenting with the halves pairing.

“Let’s not celebrate a loss, they should have won that game,” Mitchell told Stan.

“They shouldn’t have lost last week. We see improvement in this Wallabies team and then things seem to be repeating themselves over and over. We should be celebrating a win here.”

Rennie made four changes from last weekend’s one-point win over Scotland, giving Campbell his first Test start.

As the smoke from the pre-match fireworks dispersed, the Wallabies’ veteran fly-half Bernard Foley opened the scoring with a penalty after four minutes before Thomas Ramos kicked two to put France ahead 6-3 after 10 minutes.

Foley equalised before France’s first foray into the Australia 22m as flanker Charles Ollivon, who lost the France captaincy for this series, was denied his 10th Test try for double movement after 15 minutes.

Less than three minutes later the Stade de France crowd was stunned as the Wallabies went from their own 5m line to score as centre Lalakai Foketi crossed in superb fashion.

Foley kicked the conversion before missing the chance to extend the lead with a simple penalty after 25 minutes.

Ramos cut the deficit to a point with two shots at goal before hooker Julian Marchand claimed the lead for the hosts, Six Nations Grand Slam champions, with a pick and go after a Gael Fickou kick.

Ramos was successful with the extras as Les Bleus led 19-13 at the break.

Two minutes after the interval, 33-year-old Foley, on his 75th Test appearance, made it 19-16 with a penalty with France offside in open play before Ramos re-established a six-point lead.

With half an hour to play Ramos missed for the first time with a shot from 50m before three-quarter Campbell celebrated his maiden international start by sliding over to score for Australia.

Foley added the touchline conversion and Rennie’s side led 23-22 with a little over 20 minutes to go.

The playmaker and Ramos traded penalties to make it 26-25 highlighting why Galthie said in the week his side were preparing for the most difficult final quarter of a game of his three-year tenure.

With five minutes to go Foley’s replacement Reece Hodge repaid Rennie’s faith by kicking a penalty to make it 29-25 but the final word went to Penaud.

He caught substitute Jalibert’s looping pass before beating two would-be tacklers for his 10th Test try.

Ramos missed the difficult conversion but Galthie’s men held on to break the record set in the 1930s.

“We had trouble the whole game. But we got the win and it‘s important to win in different ways,” France captain Antoine Dupont said.

“We lacked control and it almost cost us dearly.”

– with AFP

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