France keep their Grand Slam dreams alive with brilliant win over Wales


France goes to Scotland next in two weeks.

France, boosted in defence by ex-Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards, next travel to Scotland before rounding off their campaign at home against Ireland.

"You could feel after the game he was pleased", France manager Raphael Ibanez said of Edwards. "It was an awesome performance from our defence through the game". Tomos Williams and Aaron Wainwright drop down to the bench but wing Josh Adams and fly-half Dan Biggar both start despite going off against Ireland.

Wales received a further blow when George North was forced off after he collided with the elbow of Gael Fickou after just 10 minutes with Johnny McNicholl replacing the winger. Instead of losing the lead, France extended it to 24-16. Wales had another overlap meters out from the French tryline but Willemse knocked the ball down while tackling hooker Ken Owens.

France overcame yellow cards for Gregory Alldritt and Mohamed Haouas and Wales were left to wonder about a possible penalty try in the second half that was not given.

Reigning champs Wales scored their factors via Dillon Lewis as well as Dan Biggar attempts, along with 3 fines from the last, yet they were constantly going after in this one as well as are now out of the search for the title, after 2 losses from 3. In the dying seconds, Tompkins speared up the middle to the French 22, the sell-out crowd was on its feet, but France replacement hooker Camille Chat tied up the ruck ball to win the penalty and clinch the deserving win.

"If we can improve our possession count (41% against Wales) we can be a real threat for winning the trophy".

They are now three from three courtesy of upset wins over reigning champions Wales, World Cup finalists England and Italy.

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Coach Wayne Pivac wasn't impressed with the officials' rulings.

"There was the (Willemse) slap down". They are a good side, and we've seen that.

To Wales' credit, they rallied back to get within a point of their opponents soon after the restart, but a 10-point haul from Ntamack took the sting out of Wales' attack and killed off their hard-earned momentum.

"The other disappointing one is when the fresh tighthead (Demba Bamba) came on and we're on the line hammering away". He went straight across the scrum and was rewarded for that.

"It's awesome. We worked the whole week for a big game like that". "If I have to pick (Wales') top five trainers, he is right up there".

Ntamack scored a vital intercept try and also booted 12 points against a Wales team boasting a Six Nations record of 859 caps. France threw away a 16-0 half-time lead to lose in the Six Nations past year and then squandered a 19-10 advantage in their World Cup quarter-final last October.

That was underlined as Lewis scored his first test try for Wales, roared on by the capacity crowd.

But France blasted back minutes later as they breached the Welsh defence with a well-taken try by full back Anthony Bouthier. "They played the game", said former captain Galthie, who took over from Jacques Brunel following last year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, where the French lost to Wales in the quarter-finals. He helped Wales threaten another comeback win at France's expense, but the visitors held their nerve.