Wales lost their under-21s crown after crashing to a heavy defeat to France
at The Gnoll.
But the game could so easily have ended in real tragedy after France wing
Benjamin Thiery was saved from swallowing his tongue.
Amid panick-stricken scenes on the pitch, French doctors managed to prevent
the young wing from choking after being knocked out in a heavy tackle as he
dived for the try line in the 62nd minute.
Thiery, who had earlier converted three of France's six tries, was later
taken to hospital after his narrow escape that had left both sides visibly
But by then both the game and the championship crown had slipped from Wales'
Last year a different set of young Dragons had swept all before them on
their way to Grand Slam glory.
But the next generation have failed to breath fire this season having been
resoundingly beaten in Ireland a fortnight ago.
Wales were desperate to get the defence of their title back on track after
their heavy defeat in Galway and led after half-an-hour through the boot of
But their preparations were hit just hours before the game at the loss of
star hooker Huw Bennett to the senior squad as cover for the sick Robin
McBryde and it was not long before France took a grip up front.
The French pack dominated the early exchanges and after putting the Welsh
scum on the back foot, set up the game's opening try inside five minutes
with centre Denis Lison barging over for the first of his two tries.
Wales got their game going through the driving work of Blues prop John Yapp
and the creativity of fellow Arms Park product Nick Macleod at outside-half
who brought Pontypridd pair Mathew Nuthall and Thomas into play.
But they were made to pay for not creating enough genuine scoring chances
when France hit them on the break to steal back the lead just before
half-time when Pierre Emmanuel Garcia profitted from some mesmerising
And the flood gates opened when outside-half Regis Lespinas stepped out of
James Merriman's tackle to cross seven minutes after the break.
Lison scored his second after Wasps wing James Wellwood was caught with the
ball near his own line.
Play was halted for seven dramatic minutes as physios and doctors from both
sides tended to Thiery but the delay did not stop the rout as prop Adrien
Faliere and wing Julien Arias both scored in the final minutes put Wales to
The defeat means Wales, who won the Triple Crown in 2002 before last year's
triumph, cannot win the title and with plenty to work on before facing
England at Gloucester in two week's time.
Wales Under-21s; M Nuthall; J Wellwood, R Payne, L Thomas, F Brillante; N
Macleod (M Jones, 53), R Rees (J Ireland, 68); J Yapp, K Crawford, C
Griffiths (I George, 76), I Evans (J Mills, 48), L Charteris, J Merriman (T
Brown, 68), R Dale, R Pugh.
Pens - L Thomas (3).
France Under-21s: Tries - D Lison (2), P Garcia, R Lespinas, A Faliere, J
Arias. Cons - B Thiery (3).
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.