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Watch: France's Vahaamahina sees red for mindlessly elbowing Wainwright

Les Bleus have to play the remainder of the quarter-final with 14 men.

France have to play the final 30 minutes a man down.
France have to play the final 30 minutes a man down.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IN AN ACT of mindless recklessness, France second row Sébastien Vahaamahina has left his side with a big mountain to climb in their World Cup quarter-final against Wales after he saw red.

With France leading 19-10 early in the second half, Vahaamahina became the eighth player to be sent-off at this tournament when he elbowed Aaron Wainwright in the face.

It was a moment of madness from the Clermont lock, who gave referee Jaco Peyper with no choice but to brandish red, with Vahaamahina apologising to his team-mates as he left the field.

The powerful lock, a hero when he scored the opening try of the match in the fifth minute, became a villain in the 49th after first wrapping his arm around the neck of Wainwright and then driving his elbow into the chin of the Wales flanker at a maul. 

Earlier, he had opened the scoring for France at Oita Stadium as Les Bleus powered into a half-time lead in the third quarter-final tie on Sunday.

France beat Wales 9-8 in a 2011 World Cup semi-final in Auckland after then Welsh captain Sam Warburton received an early red card for a dangerous tip tackle on Vincent Clerc. 

France extended their lead shortly after. A stunning counter-attack involved Vakaatawa and Ntamack set Dupont racing clear and with options on both sides of the scrum-half, he picked out the supporting Charles Ollivon who ran it in under the posts.

French flair at it’s very best, but then minutes later, they offered Wales a route back into the game when Guirado spilled possession and Wainwright turned on the after-burners to charge away for a seven-pointer.

It was the first time three tries have been scored inside the opening quarter of any World Cup knockout game. 

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