Six Nations Tournament: France surpasses Wales for one last win
France's Gaël Fickou score France d the team's fourth try against Wales at the Stade de France on 18 March 2023. © AFP / FRANCK FIFE
Text by: Valentin Berg Follow
The XV of France signed a beautiful victory against Wales (41-28), this Saturday, March 18 at the Stade de France for their last match of the Six Nations Tournament 2023. Thanks to this improved success, the French can still hope to be crowned champions if Ireland stumble in the closing clash against England.
A victory to end the tournament in style. Ambushing in the standings behind the Imperial Irish, the Blues had to maintain the hope of a second triumph in a row in the Six Nations Tournament by winning a large victory against Wales. And for their last match in official competition before the World Cup (September 8-October 28, 2023), the Blues approached the meeting with a lot of confidence after their historic feat against England at Twickenham on March 11.
Not enough to impress the Welsh, who hit hard from the start by deceiving the French defense thanks to a try by George North, easily converted (0-7, 8th). Doubt could have begun to settle in the French camp, which had no room for error if it wanted to maintain the tiny hope of a final victory in the tournament. But the tricolor mastery did not take long to resurface a few handfuls of seconds later, preventing the Red Dragons from enjoying their good start to the match. Following a superb solo number by Romain Ntamack in midfield, Damian Penaud is well served and perfectly concluded the French offensive to get both teams up to speed (7-7, 10th).
Despite some inaccuracies in the transmissions, the French then took advantage of the penalties imposed on the Welsh to pick up points. After a reversal of play, Jonathan Danty punished the Welsh team once again by scoring the second French try in the corner (20-7, 34th). Despite a delicate start, the Blues gradually managed to make their mastery speak in the game by inflicting twenty points in a row to the Welsh and took off before half-time (20-7).
Welsh with two faces
The France XV maintained its offensive momentum from the first minutes of the second half with Uini Atonio's first international try, once again converted by an impeccable Thomas Ramos (27-7, 44th). The French then stunned their opponents thanks to the formidable efficiency of Gaël Fickou (34-7, 49th), who arrived launched and allowed the Blues to win the offensive bonus in this meeting.
As against the English, a new score-river seemed to be in favor of the team of France. But stung in their pride, the Welsh responded to the French with good shots played in the last 25 minutes of the match. Taking advantage of a drop in speed of the Blues, Bradley Roberts first folded the French wall (34-14, 56th), imitated a few minutes later by his teammate Tomos Williams (34-21, 65th) who sneaked well between the defenders.
The meeting finally ended as it had begun: at a frantic pace. As he knows how to do, Damian Penaud took advantage of a long French offensive sequence to score the 5th try of the XV of France (41-21, 78th), becoming at the same time the best scorer of the tournament. But too distracted by their success, the Blues let slip Rio Dyer, who resisted the too soft tackles of Thomas Ramos and Damian Penaud on the left wing before scoring the final try of the match for the Welsh (41-28, 80th).
Always as clinical offensively, the French had no trouble getting the better of a Wales team playing until the end, who were able to take advantage of the weak time of the XV of France to punish him in the second half. With this improved victory (41-28) for their last game of the tournament, the contract is fulfilled for the Blues. However, they will have to wait for the result of the Ireland-England clash to know their fate and hope to be crowned champions on the wire.
🇫🇷🏴 The #XVdeFrance end this Tournament with an improved victory!
🎶 Freed from Desire 🎶 #FRAPDG #XVdeFrance #NeFaisonsXV pic.twitter.com/eKyCFiVkZ6
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 18, 2023
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