Three big takeaways from France v Wales
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: France denied Wales a Grand Slam and kept their Six Nations title hopes alive with a dramatic 32-30 win in Paris on Saturday.
Wales led 30-20 with 12 minutes left when France, who had just had a try disallowed, saw lock Paul Willemse sent off for making contact with the eye area of Welsh prop Wyn Jones at a ruck.
But Wales finished the match down to 13 men following yellow cards for Taulupe Faletau and Liam Williams.
France captain Charles Ollivon powered over to reduce the deficit and, with 80 minutes already on the clock, fullback Brice Dulin went over for the bonus-point try that sealed the victory and kept Les Bleus in the title hunt ahead of their coronavirus-delayed match at home to Scotland on Friday.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 20, 2021
Three aspects of the thrilling match:
Dulin makes his mark
Not only did Dulin finish the match, he also played a key role in arguably the best of the game’s seven tries.
With the game all square at 7-7, Dulin’s superbly weighted kick over the top of the Welsh defence bounced up for Matthieu Jalibert and he released half-back partner Antoine Dupont for a superb score.
Faletau’s ups and downs`
After Wales clinched the Triple Crown by beating England, back-row Faletau said he had been “rubbish” in recent matches. But on Saturday he was at the heart of several powerful drives as the Welsh pack made inroads into French territory.
And yet it was his yellow card, for straying offside, that contributed to a frantic finale in the closing stages that saw France turn the match on its head.
Pearce keeps his cool
A tense match was also notable for the way referee Luke Pearce maintained good control throughout.
The Englishman communicated well with both teams, continuing the trend of a tournament where officials have been using as much French as possible in Les Bleus fixtures rather than just sticking to English.
Pearce helped ensure a free-flowing contest by insisting the ball was played quickly at the breakdown.
And in a game featuring several tight calls he also liaised effectively with television match official Wayne Barnes, himself a vastly experienced Test referee, with the pair only over-ruling an initial on-field decision when they had conclusive replay evidence
A game that will live long in the memory 🔥
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 21, 2021