Ben Mowen of Australia scores a try against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux.
Ben Mowen of Australia scores a try against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux. Romain Perrocheau

Barbarians inflict Aussies' first loss of Spring Tour

RUGBY UNION: Australia has suffered defeat for the first time on its Spring Tour, with a Wallaby XV going down to the French Barbarians 19-11 in Bordeaux as league convert Marika Koroibete endured a mixed bag.

The tourists began well, with former Australian captain Ben Mowen crossing for the visitors early, his try coming off the back of a couple of good pieces of play from Koroibete in his first professional rugby match since leaving NRL side the Melbourne Storm.

Koroibete made the tackle that led to the Wallaby XV having possession and threw the final pass to Mowen to score out wide.

Koroibete, however, lost the ball twice at the breakdown and was quiet out wide on the fringes.

Australia lost playmaker Jono Lance to what appeared to be a wrist injury and with no back-up playmaker on the bench, the side lost its shape without the direction he brings.

Former Wallabies hooker Nathan Charles, now playing for Clermont in the French Top 14, was sent to the sin bin midway through the first half for a high tackle as he and Taqele Naiyaravoro combined to pull down a runaway French attacker.

The French Barabarians found no way through the strong Australian defence and eventually opted for a shot at goals, with fly-half Romain Lonca adding their only points of the first half.

Both teams had plenty of early chances in the second half, but it was the Barbarians who added the first points through replacement playmaker Julien Dumora.

The Barbarians took the lead midway through the second half when Dumora bagged his second penalty and extended the lead out to four points when he kicked his third penalty in the 71st minute.

Recently capped Wallaby Kyle Godwin closed the margin to a single point in the 76th minute when he slotted a penalty from straight in front of the posts.

But the French Barbarians sealed the win when No.8 Raphael Lakafia scored under the posts after an impressive break from Antoine Dupont.

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