Player ratings: Heartbreak hotel
OPINION: What a difference four months make. Wales were calm and level-headed in the face of France’s red-blooded early storm in Paris, unrecognisable from the mob that hobbled through 2020.
And the Grand Slam was on, right up until the end, but they fell agonisingly short.
Ian Cameron rates the Welsh players!
1. WYN JONES – 7
Incessant, tireless carrying by the loosehead. Regardless of the result tonight, he’s the tournament MVP (Most Valuable Prop).
2. KEN OWENS – 7
Grafted his heart out. One of the Welsh pack’s most durable and consistent carriers.
3. TOMAS FRANCIS – 7
An immovable force in the scrum, albeit in a game of relatively few scrums. Managed a solid 68 minutes.
4. ADAM BEARD – 6
Brought in the combat France’s big men, he did that. A hard worker, but he still has to prove he’s more than just height for hire.
5. ALUN WYN JONES – 7
A masterclass in referee management, as he had a massive job to convince referee Luke Pearce not to send more Welshman to the bin, alas, in vain for the men in red.
6. JOSH NAVIDI – 8
Burrowed his way over in the 18th minute like Bill McLaren’s famous ‘demented mole’. Key to Wales’ impenetrable try line defence.
7. JUSTIN TIPURIC – 7
Once again at the tackling coal-face for Wales instead of galloping free through the Parisian night.
8. TAULUPE FALETAU – 8
When Faletau is fit there’s no better No.8 and this a case study in work rate, ability and carrying. His late card from Pearce was a ‘team yellow’.
9. GARETH DAVIES – 7
Saved a certain try with a smart tackle following a frenetic French onslaught and was unlucky not to score his own minutes later.
10. DAN BIGGAR – 7.5
His crash ball line for his try would have done Scott Gibbs proud and was excellent when managing the game. Defensively the Saint was wayward at times, missing tackles and making poor defensive reads, before confounding expectations with a massive defensive play.
11. JOSH ADAMS – 7
Gave away a partial seat belt tackle on the electric Dupont. Desperately unlucky not to ground the ball.
12. JONATHAN DAVIES – 7
Tough as guts. Made his most metres in this Six Nations campaign tonight in his most productive shift to date. There’s life in the old fox yet.
13. GEORGE NORTH – 8
Put in an early big hit and brought similar energy to proceedings that we’ve seen all campaign. Moving North closer to the action, by the accident of injuries or by Pivac’s design, has been revelatory for Wales.
14. LOUIS REES-ZAMMIT – 8
His line break was unlucky to result in a try for his nine and he was razor-sharp with nearly every touch of the ball and came within millimetres of another world-class finish. Constantly came looking for work and made a brilliant double act with elder statesman North.
15. LIAM WILLIAMS – 7.5
He won his private kick-chase and king of the pitch war with the French back three. He brings so much quality to Wales.