JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Wales stop losing streak by humiliating France at home

Date

FRANCE 6 WALES 16

France's Dimitri Szarzewski (L) and Louis Picamoles tackle Wales' Mike Phillips. Click for more photos

Wales defeat listless France

France suffer worst start in Six Nations in 31 years as Wales claim victory in Paris. Photo: Reuters

PARIS: The derision was huge at the end of this match as the French public turned on their team to express disgust at what they had just witnessed. Two opening defeats in a Six Nations campaign after an autumn that promised so much.

French rugby is officially in tatters. Not that Wales will care. In a match that never quite got past ordinary, they stopped a dismal run of eight consecutive defeats to resurrect their Six Nations campaign and save coach Rob Howley from a public flogging. And in Paris of all places, a venue where Welsh knees normally tremble. It was quite something.

If Wales have an ounce of honesty, they will admit even they struggled to see the victory coming. It was not that they were lucky to see off France. They were not. It was just the game was so poor, so one-dimensional, so lacking in imagination, so bereft of reliable indicators that to find anyone coming home in front was a surprise.

For most of this match the teams were all square on the scoreboard, and that seemed about right. It was one step forward, one step back.

But Wales prevailed in a decisive spell inside the last 10 minutes when Dan Biggar found George North with a cross kick in the 73rd minute to enable North to squeeze over in the corner. That was followed a minute later by a masterly long-range Leigh Halfpenny penalty.

Going into the game, the focus for Wales was on engineering a productive start. ''We've got to get the boys' heart rate up,'' Howley had said.

It was not a blistering beginning but Gethin Jenkins forced a turnover, Jamie Roberts set off on a run and Mike Phillips attacked shoulders.

The problem for Wales was France were also keen to spark and had the huge Mathieu Bastareaud, by far the most influential player in a first half where the collisions were seismic.

Much of the opening spell was an exercise in testosterone-sponsored chest-beating. France probably had the edge in the early exchanges simply because they strung more phases together.

But Wales, to their credit, also attacked. North and Alex Cuthbert clattered into bodies and there was some wonderful defensive work from the entire side whenever France got within 10 metres of the Welsh line.

It was no surprise, as an attritional but unedifying half closed, to discover the score tied at 3-3 with a penalty apiece from Frederic Michalak and Halfpenny.

The momentum shifted temporarily towards Wales after the restart. Phillips cantered out of his 22, forcing France to give away a penalty that Halfpenny knocked over. Yet that seem to stir up the French.

As the game staggered to a close, neither side seemed capable of hanging onto the ball long enough to find an opening.

There was one spell, 10 minutes from time, where mistake followed error in a series of calamities after which the crowd howled in despair and disbelief. But then, shortly after, Biggar kicked to North, North scored, Halfpenny converted and then landed the penalty to take the game out of France's reach. And that was that. France are in free fall.

Telegraph, London

Related Coverage

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers