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The Sydney Morning Herald

UNBEATEN KANGAROOS THE 'BEST EVER'

Date: 15/12/1986
Words: 997
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 39
PARIS, Sunday: The 1986 Kangaroos perpetuated themselves as the supreme Australian touring side with a record-cluttered Rugby League World Cup triumph over France in Carcassone yesterday.

There are those who are dogged disciples of other Kangaroo teams from past eras but yesterday, at Carcassonne's Stade Albert Domec, Don Furner's swashbucklers scripted an undeniable finale to their memorable nine-week odyssey.

Australia gift-wrapped their unconquered 20-match tour in style with a 52-0 savaging of France - a record Test-winning margin that beckons future Test sides from any country.

The 10-try annihilation eclipses Australia's past points scoring orgies -56-6 over France in Brisbane in 1960 and last October's 62-12 thumping of Papua New Guinea.

Skipper Wally Lewis was not taking the diplomatic middle ground when he proclaimed after the match: "This is the best football side that ever was -better than the '82 Kangaroos."

Adding lustre to another afternoon of football magic, winger Dale Shearer scored four tries - the most in Test football and a standard he shares with John Ribot - while the remarkable Garry Jack became the first fullback to corner three tries in a Test.

Jack bettered his own feat in last month's second Elland Road Test against Great Britain when he was the first custodian to snare two tries.

Carving his own niche was winger Michael O'Connor. His 16 points swept him up the all-time Australian points table to third place behind Michael Cronin and Graeme Langlands with 128 points from just nine Tests - an average of a slightly more than 14 a game.

O'Connor's haul of a try and six goals took his personal tally to 170 points for the tour to eclipse Mal Meninga's 1982 top-scoring effort of 155.

In the midst of Australia's scoring spree tour bridesmaid Terry Lamb capped an unparalleled performance of playing in all 20 of the Kangaroos' tour games, either in the starting line-up or as a reserve.

Furner, ecstatic that he had emulated the feat of his predecessor, Frank Stanton, declared: "We did it in style. It's a great team and it will take a very good side to beat this one."

There was little doubt that Australia were heading for a consummate victory when they led 22-0 at half-time.

Lewis and Sterling were in irresistible form while Shearer and Jack were devastating out wide.

Shearer's easiest try came from a frightful mistake minutes after half-time by fullback Patrick Wosniak, who fumbled a Lewis kick under no pressure, cannoned into team-mate Hughes Ratier and allowed Shearer an easy passage to the line.

The French replaced "ancient" prop Max Chantal early in the second half which prompted the Australians to clap him as he was escorted from the field by the French league president, Jacques Soppelsa.

Soppelsa made a name for himself on tour by parading up and down in front of the Australian team during the pre-match national anthem at Albi last Sunday.

In two Tests against France Australia have tallied 96 points to two to put a strain on next year's tour of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Once again the Kangaroos played before meagre numbers, dwindled by a decision to allow direct television not only throughout France but in Carcassonne.

The victorious Kangaroos will toast their success in a home-style barbecue today. They will leave France tomorrow and arrive home, by way of Singapore, early next Saturday morning.

FACTS BEHIND THE KANGAROO RECORD RUN

M R T G Pts

GARRY JACK 11 1 12 - 48

GARY BELCHER 10 - 6 - 24

MICHAEL O'CONNOR 12 1 13 59 170

DALE SHEARER 13 - 12 - 48

GREG ALEXANDER 9 1 10 5 50

LES KISS 4 - 1 - 4

BRETT KENNY 13 1 8 - 32

MAL MENINGA 10 3 9 7 50

GENE MILES 13 - 8 - 32

CHRIS MORTIMER 9 - 4 - 16

WALLY LEWIS 11 - 6 - 24

TERRY LAMB 9 11 19 20 116

PETER STERLING 10 - 3 - 12

DES HASLER 6 2 4 - 16

BOB LINDNER 10 - 6 - 24

PAUL LANGMACK 10 - 3 - 12

NOEL CLEAL 7 - 3 - 12

LES DAVIDSON 9 5 - - -

STEVE FOLKES 6 - 1 - 4

BRYAN NIEBLING 10 - 2 - 8

PAUL SIRONEN 7 3 - - -

MARTIN BELLA 8 2 1 - 4

PHIL DALEY 6 1 - - -

GREG DOWLING 9 2 1 - 4

PAUL DUNN 9 2 - - -

STEVE ROACH 8 - 3 - 12

BEN ELIAS 10 - 3 - 12

ROYCE SIMMONS 10 - 1 - 4

Date Game Score Crowd

Oct 12 WIGAN W 26-18 (30,622)

Oct 15 HULL KR W 46-10 (6,868)

Oct 19 LEEDS W 40-0 (10,974)

Oct 21 CUMBRIA W 48-12 (4,233)

Oct 25 FIRST TEST W 38-16 (50,583)

Oct 29 HALIFAX W 36-2 (7,193)

Nov 2 ST.HELENS W 32-8 (15,370)

Nov 4 OLDHAM W 22-16 (5,678)

Nov 8 SECOND TEST W 34-4 (30,808)

Nov 12 WIDNES W 20-4 (10,268)

Nov 16 HULL W 48-0 (8,216)

Nov 18 BRADFORD N. W 38-0 (10,663)

Nov 22 THIRD TEST W 24-15 (20,169)

Nov 26 QRES XIII W 36-4 (800)

Nov 30 FIRST TEST W 44-2 (5,000)

Dec 3 PROVENCE W 42-5 (1,500)

Dec 5 MID-PYRENEESW 12-2 (1,000)

Dec 7 FRANCE B W 50-0 (2,000)

Dec 10 AQUITAINE W 50-8 (500)

Dec 13 SECOND TEST W 52-0 (5,000)

Played 20, Won 20; Lost 0. Pts For 738 (tries 139); Pts Agst 126 (tries 16)

 
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