France edge out Wales in U20s opener

Date published: June 2 2015

France opened their U20 World Championship with a hardfought 19-10 win over Wales to move top of Pool A.

The first 15 minutes were dominated by France, who ran in two tries on the right through Arthur Bonneval and Thomas Ramos, with the latter converting his own try to make it 12-0.

Wales responded with a Dan Jones penalty but France looked to have a third try before half-time through Anthony Méric. That was disallowed for a shirt pull in the build-up but the French led by nine at the break.

The second half saw an improved Wales side come out, but France again scored the first try thanks to a great counter-attack. Damien Penaud, son of former French international Alain, made it with a searing burst before beautifully offloading for Lucas Blanc to score.

That made it 19-3 but Wales responded with their first try when Garyn Smith went over from close range after a long period of possession.

Sekou Macalou, the game's outstanding player produced a great try-saving tackle late on to deny Tom Williams while France missed the bonus point try as they were held up over the line with the final play.

The scorers:

For France:
Bonneval, Ramos, Blanc
Cons: Ramos 2

For Wales:
Con: Evans
Pen: Jones

The teams:

France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Arthur Bonneval, 13 Damien Penaud, 12 Elliot Roudil, 11 Lucas Blanc, 10 Lucas Méret, 9 Anthony Méric, 8 Fabien Sanconnié, 7 Lucas Bachelier (c), 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Julien Delannoy, 4 Tristan Labouteley, 3 Mickaël Simutoga, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Thibaut Estorge
Replacements: 16 Quentin Lespiaucq, 17 Clément Castets, 18 Quentin Bethune, 19 Mathieu Tanguy, 20 Mathieu Ugéna, 21 Gauthier Doubrère, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Alexandre Pilati

Wales: 15 Dafydd Howells, 14 Lloyd Lewis, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Garyn Smith, 11 Joshua Adams, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Tom Williams, 8 Harrison Keddie, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Tom Phillips, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Luke Garrett
Replacements: 16 Liam Belcher, 17 Keagan Bale, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Jon Fox, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Barney Nightingale