Planet Rugby

Wales win at last in Paris

09th February 2013 18:47

Share:

George North of Wales is tackled by Thierry Dusautoir of France

Match winner: George North

Wales ended an eight-game losing streak with a hard-fought 16-6 victory over an uninspired French side at the Stade de France on Saturday.

A solitary late try from wing George North handed Wales the spoils in a dour game that culminated to the sound of boos and whistles from the Parisian crowd.

The result leaves pre-tournament favourites France rooted to the bottom on the Six Nations Championship standings after their shock loss to Italy last week.

'Crisis' might be too harsh a term to define the French situation at the moment, but all is clearly not well in Philippe Saint-André's camp. Most worrying was the lack of intensity and commitment in the French defence in the last quarter, when the game was still there for the taking.

The pressure was evident in what was a must-win game for both sides, as the fear of failure seemed to dominate the attacking spirit that has served these teams so well in the past.

A first-half characterised by conservative tactics and wasted opportunities on both ends came to a close with the scores locked at 3-3 and the spectators voicing their displeasure.

Wales had enjoyed the lion's share of possession but the French came closest to crossing whitewash, only to fluff two great chances with poor decision making. The only thing worse than the quality of the spectacle was the state of the playing surface which, was once again, took a beating at every scrum.

The French half-back duo of Frederic Michalak and Maxime Machenaud came under heavy fire for their showing in Rome last week and they did their chances of being selected for next week's trip to Twichenham no good with some poor passes and options while full-back Yoann Huget failed to offload to frustrated wing Wesley Fofana on his outside with the tryline begging.

Wales started the second half well though and Leigh Halfpenny was able to give the visitors the lead with his second penalty.

The home crowd howled when Francois Trinh-Duc - playing at full-back after coming on for wing Benjamin Fall at the break - missed an easy drop goal when France were camped on the Welsh line.

Michalak drew the hosts level with a penalty (against the Welsh scrum) with half-an-hour left on the clock.

The hosts' scrum had become their primary weapon but it couldn't help them when Dan Biggar chipped over the top for North, who did brilliantly to evade the touchline and score in the corner in the 71st minute.

A long-range penalty from Halfpenny in the dying moments sealed the deal to leave France with plenty to think about.

Man of the match: Not many stand-out performers but Leigh Halfpenny was very solid, making very few errors and landing crucial kicks.

Moment of the match: There was only one. North's try was the game changer and a rare highlight.

Villain of the match: No nasty stuff, but if you're French, a guy called Philippe won't be on your Christmas card list right now.

The scorers:

For France:
Pens: Michalak 2

For Wales:
Try: North
Con: Halfpenny
Pens: Halfpenny 3

France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yannick Forestier
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Florian Fritz.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones (c), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Scott Williams.

Venue: Stade de France, St. Denis (Paris)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Television match official: Giulio De Santis (Italy)

By Ross Hastie

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs Tasman19:35
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26