defeat France 44-12 in Perpignan

A determined effort from France wasn't enough to withstand a polished performance from Australia, the Kangaroos running out comfortable winners by 44-12 at Perpignan's Stade Aime Giral on Saturday.

With the injured Darren Lockyer being sent home, it was left to new skipper David Gower and Scott Prince to control play while utility player Craig Wing was recalled into the side. Wide running second-rower Ben Creagh, 20, was on debut for the Kangaroos.

At half time, Australia held a 22-6 lead, doubling their tally after the break.

With several spots up for grabs in next Saturday's Tri-Nations showdown with Great Britain, the points kept coming for Australia during the second half.

Prince, who is battling with the injured Trent Barrett for the five-eighth spot, bagged a personal haul of 16 points with a try and six goals.

Fullback Anthony Minichiello and forward Trent Waterhouse bagged two tries each.

The French were forced to play without centre Teddy Fadaoui who was ruled out prior to kick off while playmaker Julian Rinaldi missed most of the second half.

France next play New Zealand on Friday in Toulouse. Australia take on a resurgent Great Britain in Hull next Saturday, a Kangaroos victory will keep the Lions out of the Tri-Nations final at Elland Road on November 26.

France 12 Tries: Frayssinous, Greseque Goals: Frayssinous 2 Australia 44 Tries: Minichiello 2, Waterhouse 2, Mason, Prince, Gower, Cooper Goals: Prince 6

Teams: AUSTRALIA: 1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Brent Tate 3. Mark Gasnier 4. Matt Cooper 5. Eric Grothe Jr 6. Scott Prince 7. Craig Gower (c) 13. Trent Waterhouse 11. Ben Creagh 12. Willie Mason 8. Mark O'Meley 9. Craig Wing 10. Jason Ryles. Interchange: 14. St?ve Price 15. Petero Civoniceva 16. Andrew Ryan 17. Matt King. Coach: Wayne Bennett.

FRANCE: 1. Renaud Guigue 2. Fr?d?ric Zitter 3. Christophe Moly 4. J?r?me Hermet 5. Olivier Charles 6. Laurent Frayssinous 7. Julien Rinaldi (c) 13. Gr?gory Mounis 11. S?bastien Raguin 12. Jamel Fakir 8. J?r?me Guisset 9. David Berthezene 10. David Ferriol. Interchange: 14. Maxime Gr?s?que 15. Adel Fellous 16. Aur?lien Cologni 17. Jean-Christophe Borlin. Coach: John Monie.