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.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.