Despite an air gap in the last 25 minutes, the XV of France won in front of their home crowd against Wales at the end of the 6 Nations Tournament (41-28) and ensured to finish in the worst second of the competition.
The XV of France has accomplished its mission. While Ireland will seal the fate of the 2023 6 Nations Tournament when they host England, Fabien Galthié’s players had to win against Wales to keep hope alive. A bonus victory was necessary to have a chance to keep the trophy and the Blues achieved it, not without difficulty against a vengeful XV of Leek. From the first moments of the meeting, Warren Gatland’s proteges got their hands on the ball and it paid off after just eight minutes. After seeing Dan Biggar find a touchdown from five yards out on a penalty, the Welsh pack got into full gear on a carried ball.
If the latter was stopped near the line, Rhys Webb was able to extract the ball in a second time and perfectly shift George North, who cooled an enthusiastic Stade de France after the historic performance of the XV of France last weekend at Twickenham. A first try converted by Dan Biggar who had the merit of waking up the tricolor selection because the response was immediate. After a breakthrough by Romain Ntamack initiated in the middle of the field punctuated by a chistera in the direction of Antoine Dupont, Damian Penaud was shifted to the right wing by his captain.
Danty has signed his return
The Clermontois went to flatten a corner without any adversity a try converted by Thomas Ramos. Approaching the half of the first act, Gaël Fickou curled the correctional on a tackle with reversal on Alun Wyn Jones but the Welsh legend falling on the back and not the head, the French center did not receive a yellow card for this reprehensible act. The Welsh defense, which had to deal without its second line for almost a quarter of an hour on concussion protocol, began to crack. The indiscipline was then more present with two penalties conceded on the ground and which allowed Thomas Ramos to add six points in the space of four minutes.
An ascendant on the scoreboard which was a little more confirmed six minutes from the break thanks to Jonathan Danty. While Gaël Fickou was stopped one meter from the Welsh line, the game rebounded on the initiative of Antoine Dupont. A reversal in the direction of Damian Penaud which made it possible to put the center of La Rochelle in the best conditions to register the second French try in this meeting. With the transformation passed by a Thomas Ramos once again impeccable at the foot, the XV of France found its locker room with a margin of thirteen units. On the restart, Fabien Galthié’s players put a big boost, with Uini Atonio who brought the Blues closer to the offensive bonus.
Atonio and Fickou secured the bonus
Coming out of a full axis tricolor scrum 22 meters from the Welsh line, Antoine Dupont decided to attack the line. If the defense of Wales replied to stop the French scrum half, the latter was able to leave thanks to the support of his teammates. Thomas Ramos then intervened to extract the ball and launch his pillar at full speed for his first try in the jersey of the XV of France shortly before giving way to Sipili Falatea for the last half hour. The offensive bonus was then provided through Gaël Fickou. Again, a well-placed scrum allowed the Blues to launch their game. Jonathan Danty quickly shifted Romain Ntamack whose pass for his cross launched towards the in-goal arrived in the right tempo. Therefore, the mission of the Blues was to inflate the difference in points for the general classification but it was the Welsh who raised their heads. Less than ten minutes after the fourth tricolor try, Bradley Roberts gave a smile to his training. After a ball lost too low by Thomas Ramos, the XV of Leek was able to deploy its game towards the wing with Josh Adams but the latter could not force the last French defensive curtain.
The Welsh never lost their faith
His hooker then intervened with the necessary power to go queen. The rain then came to the Stade de France and changed the situation to the delight of the Welsh. Fifteen minutes from the siren, Tomos Williams scored his team’s third try after a very long possession streak. After a breakthrough from Justin Tipuric having destabilized the defense of the XV of France, the scrum half seized the ball and found a small space to go flatten. For the end of the match, Fabien Galthié launched Maxime Lucu instead of Antoine Dupont. The UBB scrum-half was behind the action leading up to the fifth and final Tricolor try.
His change of game allowed Thomas Ramos to advance in the Welsh camp then to shift Damian Penaud, author in the corner of a new double with the Blues. But it was Wales who had the last word. Just before the siren, taking advantage of two missed tackles by Thomas Ramos then Damian Penaud, Rio Dyer assured the Leek XV of an unexpected offensive bonus point. With the five points of this bonus victory (41-28), the Blues have done what is necessary to believe in a second title in a row in the Tournament but they no longer have their destiny in their hands.