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Wales

FULL-TIME
14     13

France

Six Nations | Cardiff
17:00 (GMT) | 17-03-2018
  • 81
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  • 80
Wales steals a crucial line-out ball and they kick the ball into touch as they hang on for a win in this match. That brings the game to an end
  • 79
The home team wins a penalty and they opt for touch and touch is found a couple of meters out. They set it up but the French win another penalty at the breakdown and they opt for touch.
  • 76
The home team still with ball in hand and the French makes a turnover.
  • 75
Wales attacks the midfield as they look to hang onto the ball
  • 74
The French win a penalty and they opt for touch. They look to get their maul going but the Welsh forwards drives them back and they win a turnover scrum
  • 70
French scrum inside the home teams half,they play the ball wide to Remy Grosso, who is tackled into touch by Halfpenny.
  • 68
the French number 8 finds a gap and makes a couple of yards before he is taken down. France is awarded a penalty at the breakdown and they opt for gold.Trinh-Duc misses horribly and fails to put France in the lead.
  • 66
France wins the free kick at the scrum, they tap quickly looking to catch out the Welsh defense.
  • 63
Wales clear and the French look to run it back. Both teams make use of the boot. Wales is awarded a scrum on the French 10 after a forward pass by Francois Trinh-Duc
  • 62
Wales is awarded a scrum penalty and they opt for touch. Dan Biggar finds touch close to their own ten.
  • 60
Powerful maul by the French gains them a couple of meters before Machenaud plays the blind side. The Welsh defense forces another turnover and the pressure is relieved. Scrum for the home team on their own 5.
  • 59
Line out close to the halfway mark for the home team after France kicked it into touch. The ref goes back to a penalty for France on the right after a high tackle was spotted. France opts for touch.
  • 58
22 dropout for Wales as Trinh-Duc kicks the ball behind the try-line.
  • 57
France wins another scrum penalty. This time Trinh-Duc maks sure he finds touch. The French get their rolling maul going but the home team's defense holds strong. France is forced to set it up in the midfield but the home team wins a turnover scrum.
  • 54
A number of handling errors by both teams. France is awarded a scrum close to their own ten.
  • 52
French scrum, close to the halfway line. They win a scrum penalty and opt for touch. Trinh-Duc fails to find touch and Wales get a scrum on penalty spot.
  • 50
At the return of play, the Welsh get close to the French try line after an error by Machenaud. They spread the ball wide but the French defense manages to win back the ball.
  • 48
The French win a penalty in good kicking position and opt for gold, Machenaud kicks it straight through the middle.
  • 45
The French with ball in hand, they build a few phases and make a few yards.
  • 43
The French clear and Faletau runs it back, he finds space on the left hand flank, but a handling error stops their momentum.
  • 42
French line-out on the halfway mark. They set it up in the midfield before they opt to kick. The kick is charged down, but the French manage to hold on to the ball.
  • 41
Wales get the second half on the way with a relatively deep kick-off. Fickou collects and sets it up. Machenaud clears

Half Time

  • 40
France edging forward as Mathieu Bastareaud carries. Liam Williams is penalized for taking a player out beyond the ruck. France opts for goal. Machenaud's kick is wide and that brings the 1st half to an end
  • 39
Wales sets it up in the midfield with an inside ball to Liam Williams who is well met in defense. France wins a penalty at the breakdown and they opt for touch. Line-out on the Welsh 10
  • 38
Wales win a scrum penalty and they opt for touch, Biggar finds touch close to the French 22
  • 37
The French play a couple but the Welsh defense forces a scrum as they hold up the French attacker. Scrum inside their own half for Wales
  • 36
Mathieu Bastareaud wins a penalty at the breakdown for the French and the pressure is relieved as they opt for touch
  • 33
At the return of play Wales clears and France runs it back into Welsh territory. France looking dangerous with ball in hand but handling errors keep stopping their momentum. Knock on. Welsh scrum
  • 31
Halfpenny lines it up and kicks it straight through the middle
  • 29
The home team with ball in hand, building a few phases inside the French half. Wales is awarded a penalty for a high tackle and they opt for goal.
  • 27
End to end stuff as the Welsh take the ball up to the French 5 but Machenaud makes a turnover and kick the ball forward. The French chases the ball down but the passes fail to stick as they look to counter out wide
  • 25
Another Welsh scrum close to the away team's 22 after the ref spotted a knock on at the breakdown by France
  • 23
France seems to have found a spark at the return of play. Trinh-Duc puts in a cross-kick but Yacouba Camara fails to hang onto the ball. Welsh scrum, close to the half
  • 21
Machenaud adds the extras
  • 20
France manage to put some play together with the forwards interpassing between each other before Gael Fickou is put in a gap and scores
  • 18
Wales again testing the French under the high ball. They win the back and look to attack wide but Mathieu Bastareaud puts in a huge hit in to knock Rob Evans into touch
  • 17
Scrum reset for the Welsh
  • 16
Wales clears the ball into touch after they secured the kick-off. France gets their rolling maul going but the Welsh defense manages to win a scrum turnover
  • 15
Penalty won at the line-out as the French takes out a Welsh player in the line-out. Wales opt for goal and again Halfpenny makes no error as he ticks over the scoreboard
  • 12
Possession changes hands a couple of times before the French get a line-out inside the home team's half. The away team looks to get some phase play going but the Welsh win a breakdown penalty and opt for touch
  • 10
Leigh Halfpenny makes sure of the 3 points
  • 8
At the return of play, the Welsh again puts an attack together that sees them get a line-out inside the French 22 after some pressure on a kick. They win a penalty after the line-out and opt for goal
  • 5
Leigh Halfpenny fails to add the extras
  • 4
At the restart the French make a mistake of leaving the ball as they think it will not go over the 10. The Welsh collects and grubber kick is put through for Liam Williams who collects and scores
  • 3
The French get their rolling maul going before they set it up for Francois Trinh-Duc who slots a drop goal
  • 2
The Welsh puts it high to test the French under the high ball but the French secures the ball and they win a penalty and opt for touch. Touch found on the home teams 22
  • 1
The French get the game on the way with a deep kick-off. Wales clears and the French look to run it back but the home team makes a turnover and looks to counter
  • -5
The Players are singing their National Anthems before the start of the match. Referee Ben O'Keeffe will be in charge of this fixture
  • -10
Players to look out for in the Wales outfit will have to be Leigh Halfpenny, Dan Biggar and Taulupe Faletau while France will expect strong performances by Mathieu Bastareaud, Maxime Machenaud and Yacouba Camara
  • -20
Meanwhile, France would want to build last weekend's 22-16 win over England. France coach Jacques Brunel made just three changes to that successful side! Mathieu Bastareaud will captain France after Guilhem Guirado was ruled out with a knee injury. Cedate Gomes Sa takes the place of Rabah Slimani at tighthead prop, while Gael Fickou starts on the right wing, Benjamin Fall moving to full-back in place of injured Hugo Bonneval, who failed a head injury assessment.
  • -25
Wales, on 11 points, are currently third just Scotland who recorded a 29-27 win over Italy earlier. However, a win for Warren Gatland's side will mean they will conclude the Six Nations in the second spot just behind already-crowned champions Ireland.
  • -30
Welcome to the final match of 2018 Six Nations Championship where Wales take on France in Cardiff!
Mc wales ed
Wales
Mc france ed
France
START LINE UP
  • 15 Leigh Halfpenny
  • 14 George North
  • 13 Scott Williams
  • 12 Hadleigh Parkes
  • 11 Liam Williams
  • 10 Dan Biggar
  • 9 Gareth Davies
  • 8 Taulupe Faletau
  • 7 Josh Navidi
  • 6 Justin Tipuric
  • 5 Alun Wyn Jones
  • 4 Cory Hill
  • 3 Tomas Francis
  • 2 Ken Owens
  • 1 Rob Evans
RESERVES
  • 23 Steffan Evans
  • 22 Gareth Anscombe
  • 21 Aled Davies
  • 20 Aaron Shingler
  • 19 Bradley Davies
  • 18 Samson Lee
  • 17 Nicky Smith
  • 16 Elliot Dee
START LINE UP
  • 15 Benjamin Fall
  • 14 Gael Fickou
  • 13 Mathieu Bastareaud
  • 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou
  • 11 Remy Grosso
  • 10 Francois Trinh-Duc
  • 9 Maxime Machenaud
  • 8 Marco Tauleigne
  • 7 Yacouba Camara
  • 6 Wenceslas Lauret
  • 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina
  • 4 Paul Gabrillagues
  • 3 Cedate Gomes Sa
  • 2 Adrien Pelissie
  • 1 Jefferson Poirot
RESERVES
  • 23 Geoffrey Palis
  • 22 Lionel Beauxis
  • 21 Baptiste Couilloud
  • 20 Matyhieu Babillot
  • 19 Bernard le Roux
  • 18 Rabah Slimani
  • 17 Dany Priso
  • 16 Camille Chat
Mc article warren gatland and alun wyn jones six nations 800

Preview: Wales v France

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 07:32

SIX NATIONS, ROUND FIVE: Runners-up spot is up for grabs when Wales host France in Saturday's Six Nations finale, with both teams hyped to bring their mixed tournament efforts to a happy ending.

Wales, on 11 points, are currently second behind already-crowned champions Ireland, who play England for the Grand Slam.

France are in fourth on 10 points, with England in third on a better points differential.

A bonus-point win for Wales would ensure the second spot behind the Irish, something not lost on coach Warren Gatland.

"For us, it is important this weekend that we play well at home, get a win and finish second in the table," Gatland said.

"The exciting thing about the championship at the moment is how close it is and how many teams think they are capable of winning it.

"If you look at the championship over the last couple of years, there have been two significant away wins, one was England against Wales in Cardiff last year and the other one the opening game when Ireland beat France in Paris.

"That is the difference between winning the championship and finishing third or fourth."

Gatland recalled captain Alun Wyn Jones in one of seven changes to the team that beat winless Italy 38-14.

"We have picked a team and a squad we believe can deliver this weekend against France," the Kiwi coach said, with Scarlets front rowers Rob Evans and Ken Owens and flanker Josh Navidi also coming back into the pack.

France coach Jacques Brunel made just three changes to the side that held on to beat England 22-16 last week.

"Quiet force" Mathieu Bastareaud will captain France after Guilhem Guirado was ruled out with a knee injury, the latter's hooking spot taken by Adrien Pelissie.

Cedate Gomes Sa takes the place of Rabah Slimani at tighthead prop, while Gael Fickou starts on the right wing, Benjamin Fall moving to full-back in place of injured Hugo Bonneval, who failed a head injury assessment.

"Of course it's a game that can change everything," said Brunel, who sidelined eight players after a controversial alcohol-fuelled drinking session following an opening defeat in Scotland.

"We know the context of the championship. We said that our ambition was to match the best. Up until now, we're not that far off but we know that the result will have a bearing on our search for consistency. The result will either legitimise our ambition or put the brakes on it."

Gatland was under no illusion about what France would bring to the table.

"France have played well all competition. They played well against Ireland in their first game, the first 40-50 minutes against Scotland and were outstanding against England last weekend," he said.

"They were direct, a good defensive team and they are going to be hard for us to break down.

"It is going to be a close encounter and a very physical game."

Gatland added: "For us, it is about working their forward pack, keeping the ball on the pack, working through phases and trying to take their legs away from them.

"It is about taking the Scotland model, they kept playing and the French team ran out of a bit of steam. But they have improved and you could see that in the way they played to the full 80 minutes against England."

Brunel warned that it was a "tough challenge" awaiting his relatively novice French team.

"They are always complicated matches against the Welsh, generally very intense, with very long sequences of play," said the 64-year-old who was forwards coach when France won the Grand Slam with victory in the then-Millennium Stadium in 2002.

"We can't prepare the players for the noise," he said of the traditionally deafening environment in the closed-roof stadium in central Cardiff.

"Even if they've played little in this particular stadium, the players are used to hostile environments away from home. They're able to master that."


Players to watch:

For Wales: George North will surely cause some headaches for the French, while Leigh Halfpenny at fullback and Dan Biggar at flyhalf will have to keep the scoreboard ticking with accurate kicking. In the pack, captain Alun Wyn Jones has not been in his best form however the lock always fulfils his role and adds great value to the side. While last week's captain Taulupe Faletau is always someone to keep an eye on.

For France: Mathieu Bastareaud hard-hitting runs can cause havoc for the Welsh in the middle of the park, while the halfback pairing of flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc and scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud will be vital to gain an advantage against the Wales side.

Head to head: It is going to be nice see the battle out wide between the two wings George North and Gael Fickou. While the flyhalves Dan Biggar and Francois Trinh-Duc will be vital to their team's chances, while the centre combinations of Scott Williams and Hadleigh Parkes against France's Mathieu Bastareaud and Geoffrey Doumayrou will be something behold in the middle.

Recent results:

2017: France won, 20-19, Paris
2016: Wales won 19-10, Cardiff
2015: Wales won 20-13, Paris
2014: Wales won 27-6, Cardiff
2013: Wales won 16-6, Paris
2012: Wales won 16-9, Cardiff
2011: France won 9-8, Auckland (World Cup Pool match)
2011: France won 28-9, Paris
2010: France won 26-20, Cardiff
2009: France won 21-16, Paris
2008: Wales won 29-12, Cardiff

Prediction: France's 22-16 win over the England last weekend does place them in a favourable position to cause an upset. However, the Welsh are just too structured especially playing at home. Wales should win this by at least 10 points.

Teams:

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Steff Evans

France: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Gael Fickou, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud (captain), 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Adrien Pelissie, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Lionel Beauxis, 23 Geoffrey Palis.

Date: Saturday, March 17
Venue:  Millennium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17.00 (17.00 GMT, 18.00 France time)
Expected weather: Rain and snow expected in Cardiff. A high of 2°C and a low of -2°C. 
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Agence France-Presse & @rugby365com

Mc article wales v france

Wales down stubborn France for second spot

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 16:30

SIX NATIONS MATCH REPORT: Leigh Halfpenny hit a hat-trick of penalties to help Wales secure second place in the Six Nations after a hard-fought 14-13 victory over France on Saturday.

The win left Wales on 15 points, with Scotland finishing third, France fourth, England fifth and Italy with the wooden spoon.

A game that started with such promise quickly petered out into a war of midfield attrition, two adequately solid defensive lines effectively nullifying the mediocre attacking qualities of either side.

Both flyhalves Dan Biggar and Francois Trinh-Duc failed to show little in the way of game management and the close, bruising encounter predicted by both coaches became a sore reality.

Trinh-Duc got the scoreboard ticking with a snap drop-goal, but the flyhalf gifted Liam Williams a try just a minute later.

The restart wasn't gathered by the French forwards, the ball came back quickly on the Welsh side and a clever dink in behind the defence saw Trinh-Duc hopelessly beaten by the bounce of the ball and Williams on hand to pounce.

Halfpenny missed the conversion, but was on target with two penalties to extend the home side's lead.

France hit back with a fantastic score through Gael Fickou, the wing finishing off a move started by fleet-footed hooker Adrien Pelissie, who was playing second division rugby with Aurillac just six months ago.

Pelissie span out of a Josh Navidi tackle offloaded to Wenceslas Lauret who in turn found Fickou in space in midfield, the winger motoring in from 30 metres.

But the entertaining helter-skelter start couldn't last forever as both sides tightened up their defences and frustratingly became more conservative in attack.

Pelissie went high on Tomas Francis, Halfpenny knocking over his third penalty, Machenaud failing with a three-pointer just before the break after Williams, who was yellow carded against Italy last week, needlessly took out a player off the ball.

A short-lived frenetic start to the second period saw Taulupe Faletau sprint clear down the left flank, Gareth Davies failing to gather his pass back infield with the line begging.

Machenaud kicked a penalty to bring France within a point but inexplicably spurned a chance to boot his team into the lead, Trinh-Duc instead going for the corner only to see his kick go dead.

The momentum had swung to the French side, even though a listless-looking Wales managed to limit them largely to between the two 10-metre lines.

Kiwi-born centre Hadleigh Parkes was a rock in the Welsh defence, dealing with barnstorming rival Mathieu Bastareaud, captaining France in the absence through injury of Guilhem Guirado, with aplomb.

Another mistake by Trinh-Duc, this time a forward pass under no pressure whatsoever, handed Wales a perfect attacking position, but their scrum creaked again and Marco Tauleigne charged back up the field.

Wales were penalised for coming in at the side of the resulting ruck, but Trinh-Duc -- with Machenaud having been substituted -- missed a sitter of a penalty to sum up his less than average afternoon on the paddock.

The final 10 minutes were predictably a tight affair, Halfpenny cutting down Remy Grosso with the try line beckoning and France continuing to dominate possession.

A rare Welsh foray into the French 22m area was ended by Bastareaud winning a penalty at the breakdown, but the home side hung on for their 16th home victory in the Six Nations in 19 matches.

Man of the match: France captain Mathieu Bastareaud's strong runs created trouble in the middle. Wales captain Alyn Wyn Jones deliver - like always- an impressive performance, while flank Josh Navidi made it difficult for the French to gain momentum. However, our nod goes to France scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud, who had to dictate the game while his halfback partner struggled to find his feet.

The Scorers:

For Wales:
Try:
L.Williams
Pens: Halfpenny 3

For France:
Try
: Fickou
Con: Machenaud
Pen: Machenaud,
Drop-Goal: Trinh-Duc

Teams:

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Steff Evans

France: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Gael Fickou, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud (captain), 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Adrien Pelissie, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Lionel Beauxis, 23 Geoffrey Palis.


Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Agence France-Presse

Liam Williams (5min) and Leigh Halfpenny (10min)
TRIES
Gael Fickou (20min)
 
CONVERSIONS
Maxime Machenaud (21min)
Leigh Halfpenny (15min) and Leigh Halfpenny (31min)
PENALTIES
Maxime Machenaud (48min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
Francois Trinh-Duc (3min)
 
 
 
VENUE Cardiff
REFEREE Ben O'Keeffe