Dominant French Side Beat Wales To Remain Unbeaten

 

France, who have fielded a U20 development side throughout the series, was always going to be a tough proposition for what is effectively a U17 Welsh team, and came into today's game on the back of wins against England and hosts South Africa.

Despite an opening five minutes of defensive cohesion from Wales, they were then caught napping when a crossfield kick - which looked to be bouncing into touch - found French number eight Thibaut Hamonou, who passed back inside for wing Cheikh Tiberghien to score under the posts. France converted for a 7-0 lead.

Tiberghien went from try-scorer to try-maker four minutes later, setting up inside centre Vili Tani for France's second converted try. Wales got themselves into some advantageous positions in the first quarter but were unable to put their opportunities to good use due to some ill-discipline and handling errors.

France's third score came from a wayward Welsh lineout - an area of strength throughout the series up until that point - on their own 5m line, tighthead Sacha Lotrian gratefully accepting the ball and sauntering over for the try. The conversion attempt failed, but France now led by 19 points to Wales' zero.

The strength of Vili Tani was on show once again five minutes before halftime, the centre bulldozing down the right wing to score his team's fourth try. A good touchline conversion followed: 26-0.

Time was up on the clock for the first half when Lotrian wrestled his way over for his second try to put the icing on the cake of France's impressive opening act. Fullback Remy Brosset made no mistake in adding the extras. 33-0.

France went through the phases to great effect at the commencement of the second half, resulting in their sixth try, scored by outside centre Romain Fusier. Brosset's conversion made it five from six from the fullback's boot.

Wales made a raft of changes in the second half which soon yielded a positive impact. Fly-half Sam Costelow, fresh on the field, called a move from the scrum on 40 minutes that saw Joe Roberts hit the ball at a fine angle to score, making Wales' first dent on the scoreboard. Costelow converted to make it 40-7.

Chris Horsman's men had managed to keep France scoreless in the second half; that was until the hour mark when prop Hugo Ndiaye used his considerable 122kg frame to cross forĀ Les Bleus' seventh try. France was unable to convert.

A try-scoring opportunity for Wales, with a lineout on the French 5m, came to nothing when it was overthrown with four minutes to go, but they continued to play with an admirable determination.

France still found time for a final try, with time up on the clock, which encapsulated their whole game: good support running and offloads aplenty, with Fusier on the end of it for his second try, which was converted.