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Wales punish disappointing France to keep Six Nations hopes alive

A one-sided game in Cardiff saw the hosts run out comfortable winners.

Wales' Sam Warburton goes over for the try that killed the game.
Wales' Sam Warburton goes over for the try that killed the game.
Image: ©INPHO/Andrew Fosker

Wales 27

France 6

WALES RAN OUT comfortable winners over France in a disappointingly one-sided Six Nations clash in the Millennium Stadium tonight.

While there were fireworks before the start of the game, they were few and far between during the eighty minutes as Warren Gatland’s men comfortably accounted for the previously undefeated French.

The tone for the game was set early on when Brice Dulin and Jean-Marc Doussain combined to gift George North the easiest of tries, a score from which the visitors never really recovered.

In giving away penalty after penalty, France appeared to take Ireland’s game-plan against the Welsh two weeks ago and completely ignore it. As he is inclined to do, Leigh Halfpenny punished their indiscretions, kicking five first half penalties to give Wales a 20-6 lead at the break.

The Welsh front row dominated the scrum throughout the game and the defensive effort from the home side was good enough to keep the French at bay, their only scores coming from the boot of Doussain and Jules Plisson; the latter taking control of kicking duties after the former missed a first half sitter.

In the 51st minute referee Alain Rolland — in his last Test — sent rival props Gethin Jenkins and Nicolas Mas to the sin-bin for a collapsed scrum but it still took another nine minutes for the first score of the half.

A quick lineout ball just inside the French 22 gave Jamie Roberts the chance to burst into midfield and, though he was hauled down 10 metres out from the posts, the ball made its way to Sam Warburton and he drove over for a try that was confirmed by the TMO.

Halfpenny converted to bring his match total to 17 points and keep Wales’ hopes of a third successive Six Nations championship alive.

Scorers for Wales:
Tries – North, Warburton
Conversions – Halfpenny
Penalties – Halfpenny (5)
Scorers for France:
Penalties – Doussain, Plisson.

WALES: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Rhys Priestland, Rhys Webb, Gethin Jenkins, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Jake Ball, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Tauline Faletau.

Subs: Owens for Hibbard (56), Biggar for Priestland (70), Hook for Halfpenny (70), Tipuric for Lydiate (70), James for Jenkins (70), RP Jones for AR Jones (70), Coombs for Ball (70), Phillips for Webb (70).

FRANCE: Brice Dulin, Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastareaud, Wesley Fofana, Hugo Bonneval, Jules Plisson, Jean-Marc Doussain, Thomas Domingo, Dimitri Szarzewski, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Pape, Yoann Maestri, Yannick Nyanga, Wenceslas Lauret, Louis Picamoles.

Subs: Machenaud for Doussain (40), Mach for Szarzewski (63), Tales for Plisson (63), Vahaamahina for Maestri (63), Forestier for Domingo (63), Fickou for Bastareaud (70).

First blood to Ireland as Club XV steal England win at the death

Calamity defending from France gifts Wales opening try

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Steve O'Rourke

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