FLASHBACK: January 1949

THE Kangaroos won both Tests against France in the latter stages of their seven month northern hemisphere tour, but returned to Australia predicting the French would become one of the power houses of the game.
The First Test was played in Marseilles, with 10 ball boys stationed around the field, given the French tradition of using only one football in a game.
The crowd of 15,796 witnessed a bruising affair, with a fight between Australian prop, Duncan Hall and Andre’ Beraud bringing “shrill whistling and a chorus of shrieks” from the crowd, according to correspondent, W F Corbett.
Lock, Bill Tyquin from Brisbane Souths scored two tries, but Australia’s best forward was Alf Gibbs from Newcastle Souths, while Keith Froome (Newtown) was the outstanding back.
Froome landed four goals, one from the sideline where his run-up was diabolically difficult, given his approach was nothing more than a sunken track.
The crowd whistled and yelled to put Froome off, but when the ball went between the posts, they applauded wildly.
Fans also demonstrated against their own men, for being defeated.
France threw the ball around in spectacular fashion, but made too many mistakes.
The return match was played in Bordeaux, and was just as fiery as the first, with Australia winning 10-0. Corbett estimated the crowd at 30,000, although the official figure was 17,365.
Hall and Noel Mulligan scored tries for Australia, while winger, Pat McMahon was a crowd favourite, beating seven defenders in one 40 metre run.
Fullback, Clive Churchill also captivated fans with his running and kicking, on one occasion running from the corner flag, and finding touch with a 50 metre kick.
There was a sensation when both packs lashed out at one another in a scrum before the ball was put in, with the French referee struggling to keep control.
There was not a dull moment, according to Corbett, who described it as “the severest match for the forwards of the entire tour”.

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