Wales head coach Wayne Pivac admitted there were “too many errors” from his team after they were beaten 38-21 by France in Paris on Saturday.
It was Wales’ fourth successive defeat under Pivac, and also their heaviest loss against France since 2011.
As a warm-up game for next weekend’s delayed Six Nations clash against Scotland, it posed more questions than answers as France ran in five tries to wipe out Wales’ early 10-point lead.
“They thoroughly deserved the result and capitalised on a lot of our errors, which was disappointing from our end,” Pivac said.
“They certainly got a lot of ball away in the tackle, and they punished us in that area a lot.
We started well
“I thought we started well in both halves, but there were too many errors from our side tonight.
“There were a lot of aerial battles this evening, and we weren’t good enough in the air on the night.
“We gave too much ball back to the French in open play. There were also three turnovers at critical times for us. We have to be a lot better next week.”
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones made a world record-equalling 148th Test match appearance, although he appeared to be on the receiving end of an elbow to the face from France lock Bernard Le Roux.
The incident went unnoticed by the match officials, and Pivac added: “I haven’t seen the incident myself, but I’ve been told about it.
“I have no doubt that the officials in charge will have a look at it if they think there is something in it.”
Wales could not build on a flying start that saw them race into a 10-0 lead through full-back Leigh Halfpenny’s try and a conversion and penalty by fly-half Dan Biggar.
But France responded through two tries from France scrum-half Antoine Dupont, while prop Cyril Baille also crossed, with three Romain Ntamack conversions giving France control that they never relinquished.
🇫🇷 Antoine Dupont scores two as France beat Wales. #FRAvWAL
✍️ Check out the match report from the international in Paris. 👇 https://t.co/87psPHVKsB
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) October 24, 2020
Captain Charles Ollivon and wing Teddy Thomas added second-half touchdowns, both converted by Ntamack, who also kicked a penalty, and Wales added a try by substitute prop Nicky Smith and two further Biggar penalties, although he also missed three kicks.
“I think you could see we were a bit rusty,” Pivac said. “We’ve come out of lockdown and there hasn’t been a lot of big rugby played.
“There were similar comments from the players afterwards. It was a big step up from what they’ve had in the last couple of months.
“They will be better for it, but we will review this performance and look at the areas that we need to work on during the week.
“We need to come out with less mistakes. I think we left a couple of tries out there, so we need to be a little bit more clinical with those scoring opportunities.
“Scotland were certainly very good against Georgia (on Friday). Hopefully, we will put a lot more pressure on Scotland than Georgia did, but we will be looking at our own game.
“We will be making sure we improve across the board. Scotland will be a very tough opponent, and we will have to play a lot better than we did tonight to get a result.”