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U20 champions France see off Wales to keep their title defence alive

By Liam Heagney
France's Nathan Bollengier goes on the attack versus Wales in Athlone (Photo by Carl Fourie/World Rugby)

Defending champions France have kept alive their bid to win a fourth World Rugby U20 Championship in a row by defeating Wales 29-11 at Athlone with a four-try bonus point.

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With Pool A leaders New Zealand running up a big 45-13 score in the 7pm kick-off in Stellenbosch and progressing with a total of 15 match points after their match day three game was abandoned at half-time, the French had a head-to-head shootout with the Welsh to decide second place in the pool.

They went into the 4:30pm game thankful that tournament officials had passed the pitch in Athlone playable just two and a half hours after the scheduled 2pm kick-off featuring Ireland and Australia to decide the Pool B winners was cancelled due to the inclement weather.

With conditions having improved by the time of their late afternoon kick-off, the French knew that a bonus point win would lift them to 11 match points, a total that the Pool B and C runners-up would not be able to match.

While Wales were sticky opposition in the early exchanges, even taking a fourth-minute lead through a Harri Ford penalty and later closing to just 7-6 behind, France led 21-6 at the interval thanks two tries from Hoani Bosmorin (eight and 37 minutes) and Thomas Lacombre (33).

Within seconds of Wales suffering a 44th-minute yellow card to Isaac Young, the French grabbed their bonus score through Mathis Castro-Ferreira. Welsh heads didn’t drop, and they hit back with a 71st-minute Morgan Morse try, but it was France’s night.

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1 Comment
J
J Marc 13 days ago

Nathan Bollengier didn't play this afternoon, I think it's a picture of Maxence Biazotto.

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Wonton 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 4 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

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