With a Rugby World Cup on French soil just a couple of weeks away, the Wallabies looked to rain on Les Bleus’ parade at Stade de France on Sunday.
Playing in front of a simply incredible crowd in northern Paris, the Wallabies controlled the territory battle during an exciting opening 40 – but couldn’t convert their attack pressure into points.
Young playmaker Carter Gordon missed a series of penalty attempts at goal, and Les Bleus made the Wallabies pay on the scoreboard. France put on a show and ran away with an emphatic 41-17 victory.
“Sometimes in games like this, the scoreboard’s always important don’t get me wrong but we’ve got a greater aim than this game,” Jones told reporters after the Test.
“In terms of what we want to do for the World Cup and particularly our first game, we probably did a lot of good things but we’ve gotta get better at converting territory into points.
“We had 63 per cent of the territory in the first half and were behind 16-5 at half-time, so a good team that doesn’t happen to.
“We’re not a bad team but we’re not a good team yet. We’re going through the process of becoming a good team. We’ve just got to keep believing, keep working hard and it’ll come.
“It might be in two weeks’ time against Georgia, it might be three weeks against Fiji, might be four weeks against Wales, might be five weeks against Portugal, we don’t know when it’s going to come.”
The Wallabies started their new dawn under coach Jones with a heavy defeat to world champions South Africa in Pretoria to open their Rugby Championship campaign.
Losses on Australian soil to Argentina and New Zealand followed, and finally a heartbreaking defeat to arch-rivals the All Blacks in Dunedin at the start of this month.
With an 0-4 record under Jones, the coach made some bold changes ahead of the Test with France and the World Cup. There was no room for Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper in Australia’s 33-man squad.
The Wallabies went in a new direction by picking 25 players who have never played at a World Cup.
This young squad showed plenty of promise against Les Bleus, sure, but will still go into rugby’s showpiece event with a record of zero wins and five losses.