WALES UNDER 21 22
FRANCE UNDER 21 30
Wales Under 21, on a high after their 38-36 win in Ireland a fortnight ago,
were brought crashing down to earth at Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale, when they lost at home to France for the first time at this level.
The French led all the way and not even a late Welsh flurry, including their
third try in the sixth minute of injury time, could deny the visitors their
first win on Welsh soil in four attempts.
Wales were up against it from the moment fly half Nicolas Laharrogue landed a penalty goal and centre Mickael Mabilon crossed for the first of their four tries for a quick-fire 10-point lead.
All that Wales could muster in the first half in front of a 2,000-strong
crowd was a penalty goal by Swansea fly half Gavin Henson.
Left wing Jean-Baptiste Gobelet crossed for a brace of tries in the third
quarter, sandwiching Wales' first when Cardiff wing Liam Roberts capitalised on good work by Swansea centre and captain Matthew Brayley.
Henson added a touchline conversion before being replaced by Cardiff's Nick
Robinson, who promptly put full back Gareth Swales over to keep flickering Welsh hopes alive.
But France held out until deep into injury time, Brayley's late try to
late to save that Welsh home record.
Wales Under 21: Tries: Liam Roberts, Gareth Swales, Matthew Brayley; Cons:
Gavin Henson, Nick Robinson; Pen: Gavin Henson.
France Under 21: Tries: Jean-Baptiste Gobelet 2, Mickael Mabilon, Geoffroy Messina; Cons: Nicolas Laharrogue, David Bortolussi; Pens: Nicolas Laharrogue 2.
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.