John Inverdale presents live coverage of France v Wales in the penultimate fixture of the 2017 Six Nations, with commentary by Eddie Butler and Jonathan Davies.
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A grey and wet Parisien welcome for the hordes of Welsh fans who have
come to see their side's final match in this year's championship, and
they come both in hope and expectation. Wales of won the last
two in Paris, the last five in all, and all of us are hoping it is half
the game we saw last weekend in Cardiff.
At Friday night party. But serious. Individual battles. But could Wales
really stop Ireland? Was atonement possible? Forgiveness after
flogging? George North on the road to rediscovery. Ireland's
flogging? George North on the road two tries, ten points. Absolved.
This is a fiendishly detailed game. Enter the fray with intense Jamie
Roberts. The response of Wales to their doubters.
We are focusing on the battle for second, emotional scenes with Vern
Cotter, Wales half to finish above Scotland by getting a bonus point
win here today and France just need to win, and Everything after that
determined by what happens later on. The pitch is magnificent, talking to
some of the guys from the Welsh squad they think this is the best in
the Six Nations and the head groundsman appears to be from
Barnsley. It has stopped raising raining and the stage is set for a
great finale. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are here but we have
rugby royalty as well in the form of Conrad Smith, the great black centre
who is playing in France at the moment. I always get the sense that
a New Zealand people go huh, the Six Nations. Do you see it in a
different light? Playing here? I don't think we are that dismissive
of it. But yeah, the proximity of the nations, the support is pretty
special. It's hard to replicate in New Zealand. The Australians can
come over but the events around these games, I think the level of
the teams, aside from Italy, there is not a lot between the sides which
made for some great rugby. The most compelling match so far was Wales
against Ireland, Wales and changed for the third match in a row. Yes,
consistency normally bring success and Rob Howley stuck to his guns.
People in Wales causing for change and the introduction of young blood
but I think after last week they are justified keeping the same team.
People are not sure what to expect, both teams have shown flashes of
brilliance but they have been poor in parts as well so two inconsistent
teams. And a subplot we must mention, if people watching at home
do not know there is a huge undercurrent of discontent in French
rugby especially in pressie in rugby about the proposed measure between
Racing 92 and stored Francais, Sergio Brown easy was wearing an
armband in support of the players who have gone on strike and in
amongst all that they have to go out on the pitch today. It's very
complicated, you cannot rely on people, wealthy people putting money
in the game because of this guy goes away it is what happens to the team.
French rugby is at a turning point and maybe today will be a decider
about what is going to happen in the next few weeks. Great game for
certain individuals, a last calling card for the Lions, somebody who
perhaps at the start of this championship would not have been
going to New Zealand but now must be is Kevin Owens, winning his 50th cap
today -- Ken Owens. He has come out of nowhere, he has been superb, done
his job, hit his line-outs, 98%. Scrumming well, getting down the
park, had a superb tournament. Lewis Picamoles has been outstanding, but
he is up against Moriarty today. It's going to be a fascinating
confrontation. When you speak about Picamoles you speak about strength
and power. All the time he has the ball in hand, they carry is very
good. Lots of yards with the ball in hand, one of his strengths is he
does not go into the defender, his fitness is better and he can move
around making him a real threat. You are playing over here so you have an
insight into the French players, how much dynamism has the scrum-half
brought, Baptiste Serin? I was asking other players about him when
I first arrived, when you watch him play it is obviously wants to the
game up. I think he has done that coming into the French team, I think
he is So Yeon Ryu, he has a big future ahead of him.
George North said last week, do not forget about me and if he plays like
that again today the French backs will have to look out. He is up
against quality winger'ss. You want to see him angry, because he is such
a threat with his footwork and his pace, he has got the INAUDIBLE
. This is the loudest PA in world sport.
The players enter the fray. I should say by the way, if you are seeing
wide angled shots of the stadium there are a lot of empty seats and I
suspect that is partly because of the incident at all the airports
today which may well have stopped several Welsh bands getting here
today, and lots of bands coming into the
it's all about fine margin, what do Wales want out of this? If you
finished fifth with a loss, you would be desperately disappointed.
We want the same thing. So who wins? I will go France, they were
desperately unlucky not to win the first game against England and I
think they are playing some really good rugby.
Commentary on the penultimate game of the Six Nations 2017 comes from
Jonathan Davies, Brian Miller and Eddie Butler.
Seven different clubs represented. Clear
only two tries in their first three games for France, for in the
Ken Owens pinpoint accuracy at hooker.
The Welsh backs have scored eight tries.
A few empty seats, but still a lovely place to be in mid-March at
the end of a championship. Alun Wyn Jones, the Welsh captain. Wales have
won here on their last two appearances. Jake Ball, he has had a
good season so far. The referee Didier Wayne Barnes of England. --
today. The final weekend, the last but one game of the Six Nations. Dan
Biggar bounces the ball on halfway. Justin Tipuric, Wales's leading
line-out forward. Biggar starts, high into the
Brazilian 's guide, it is a grey sky, George North gets a hand on it.
George North doing his part, the players around could not take
advantage. Wales have a decent platform, Ken Owens on the money for
most of the time, should be able to build an attacking platform here.
Overthrown, could not get it. Picamoles, France on the move. Gael
Fickou. Two tries to his name in the championship so far. Yoann Maestri,
huge second row. France back in their own half, now
into the Welsh 22. Leigh Halfpenny gets the clearance away.
Penalty advantage being played. It's a huge French pack. No advantage,
back to the penalty. Number six penalised, Sam Warburton.
Unnecessary, it was a good defensive set from Wales. France, despite
getting multiple phases were not really going anywhere.
Sam Warburton did such a good job marking CJ Stander in the last game.
The French hooker, also their captain.
Lopez for the first points of the game. Short.
The bounce of a rugby ball always tricky. Dan Biggar goes long.
Baptiste Serin. Lopez. Gael Fickou. Good pass by Gael Kakuta. To
Picamoles. Lopez. Good tackle by Justin Tipuric. But France moving
with purpose. Kevin Godel. Jonathan Davies with the knock-down.
Advantage played. Penalty for the deliberate knock-on. Suggesting that
was deliberate. But the officials are not going to review it. That was
caused by Welsh tackling, failing, France getting numbers to the next
breakdown and very quick ball. Important France hang on here. --
Wales hang on here. Do not want to go seven points down in the first
five minutes. France with this attacking line-out. Guilhem Guirado
to throw. Overthrown. Wales still have a bit of clearing up to do but
it's an excellent steal by Wales. Rhys Webb back to Dan Biggar. They
are not out of their 22 but not as close as they were to the line. Dan
Biggar unhappy about something. Good line speed by Wales but they cannot
mess one tackle. They have to move the French pack around because they
are a massive pack. They do, but they have to get some ball first.
The hooker setting up the drive. I think this is what France wanted to
do from five metres out. It is working well, Guilhem Guirado 's
coming away with it. Thunderous on the charge, Sebastien
Vahaamahina. It's the dry! -- try. Sudden change of tactics and France
open the scoring. Wales were going to be vulnerable to that. Justin
Tipuric does his job and dislodges the ball but the Welsh players
around the fringes were not quick enough to drop on it and secure
possession. From that point France were on the front foot. The midfield
wanted to get up. That's a clever kick. Well executed by France. It's
a very clever play because Leigh Halfpenny was defending on the
outside. Chipped over, good play by this man.
Two extra points safely added France in very threatening mood it would
appear. Two missed tackles. Liam Williams. Bounced off. The little
pink by Lopez, safely taken by Remi Lamerat that. George North in hot
pursuit. Not the best exit from France, Wayne Barnes has given a
scrummage. Twice George North has got up there and cause trouble on
the Welsh kick-off, good work from him. Wales with an immediate chance
to reply to the concession of the drive.
Important the Welsh front five get some stability here. Driving early.
Picamoles surveys the Welsh attacking options. Rhys Webb to feed
the scrummage. 20 metres out from the French line. Ross Moriarty does
well to pick the ball up. Spens infield.
France on the attack causing problems, and that the scrummage,
quickly taken, George North do Halfpenny. Excellent follow-up
tackle. Rhys Webb. Evans outside, Tipuric carries on. Back to Tipuric,
still there but the whistle has gone.
A good choice of option, Webb spotting the two on one. Again, the
initial Welsh player doing his job making the break. Supporting players
not quite able to make it count. There is no prop forwards there.
Half a dummy and he's away. Good play by Rhys Webb. The penalty that
was short, that seems ages ago now even though we have only played
coming up to 11 minutes. That scrummage is a problem.
Moriarty did well to pick that on a retreating basis. Eddie, you will
know about that, clumsy row of second boots on them. He did well
not only to feel the ball but to make a bit of ground which gave the
rest of the pack time to get back and secure the ball. The French
captain is the player down. Guirado looks as if he's fit to
carry on. Baptiste Serin to feed the
scrummage. A chance for Wales to make amends and put some pressure on
the French scrum. Rock solid from France. It would be
if it was fed to number 8. Penalty nearly given but instead away comes
Picamole. That's what he wants, a chance to run at the Welsh backs.
Vakatawa. Good tackle by George North on Vakatawa but France back in
the forward motion. France's number 7 such an important player, Gourdon.
If I can call. Serin. Moriarty. -- Fickou. Back to Serin. It's goon
loose. Wales have turned it over in the nick of time.
That's the boot of Rhys Webb, how pleased he'll be to see that. Seven
metres from his own line. Your Don. Biggar. Longer clearance from
Biggar. They can't afford to miss successive
tackles. The initial break is made from that and France reproduce the
ball quickly. They've got to stop the offloads as well. That's the
thing. Maestri wins. Picamole. A rare
mistake by the number 8. But so far Wales have not found the answer to
stopping Picamole. Maybe he's providing the answer by himself by
getting injured. The gin paws of Maestri.
Picamole taking his eye off the ball at the very last moment. What will
concern Sean Edwards is the fact that the Welsh line speed is good
and there are potential tackles to be made there on the French side of
the gain line, they're not being stopped at the point of contact.
It's a good place for Wales to have a scrummage, middle of the park. But
at the last scrum they gave ground. Wayne Barnes talking about
pre-engaging with that. He means you are not supposed to actually make
contact with the shoulders. It's a very fine margin. If you watch here,
I don't know if we can see... Francis three for Wales. Better for
Wales. Not better for Wales! Penalty for France.
That is the importance of the initial engagements and the initial
scrum battle because it's now in Wayne Barnes mind that but for Wales
taking the scrum down, they're likely to go backwards and it was
actually the French man who dropped first and yet the one that was on
his knees was penalised. Lopez. On target. France's lead
grows. 10-0. We've had 15 minutes and Wales have not had any
meaningful passage of play yet. They really desperately knead a period or
two to three minutes where they keep hold of the ball and at least test
the French defence because at the moment they're just having to
tackle. Biggar to restart. Fickou is back up. Poor from France. It gets
worse because Serin's been knocked flat by Vakatawa. A catalogue of
errors there. They've still got possession, but trouble for France's
scrum-half. Lopez replaces him for the moment.
With a bit of luck, George North can find one of these restarts back into
his hands. Making himself a thorough nuisance to the French on the
restarts. I think that's just after the collision. Not gone off for a
head injury assessment. Ken Owens with the throw. Important to get
this right. Alan Wyn Jones down off the top to rest Webb. Williams.
Davies. Biggar. Trying to bring George North into play. Leigh
Halfpenny. Ken Owens. Webb. Jake Ball. Justin Tipuric came
up flat and hard, gets over the advantage line. Biggar. Scott
Williams. Lopez. The ball's gone loose. Davies did well to pick the
ball up. France claim the turnover. Biggar.
Flailing arm knocked the ball on. There was a real chance for Wales
then. Wales are claiming that was a
deliberate knock-on. It's actually... He did stop the ball
getting to George North but it was the outside arm of the tackle.
Bearing in mind that the officials did not review the... We are going
to look at this one. Interesting they didn't look at the one for
France which was very similar. While we are viewing this, France have
made a change. Trying to put George North in for a try. The left arm.
George North says he knows what he's doing, his opponent. It's
Nakaitaci's arm. He makes contact, it's whether you consider it was in
the motion of trying the make a tackle or whether it was in the
disguise motion of knocking it on for me. I think it was the former.
Obviously if you are sitting at home and you're a Welsh fan, you'll
disagree with me. A change at scrum-half for France. Dupont, the
20-year-old is on for Serin. Yellow card. It's a deliberate
knock-on for us, it's in a good position but we are not certain a
try could have been scored so he goes to the bin but it's no penalty
try, OK. Ten minutes in the bin Dan Biggar is giving the ball to
leaf Halfpenny. Get three points here, still have the vast majority
of that time left to play against 14 men. Interesting that they are
saying it probably wasn't going to be a try. They were talking about
George North having overrun the ball. If we see that again from a
different angle, we'll see whether or not he had overrun the ball
because if they decided it was a deliberate knock-on, and there was
only one man free outside, then apart from that...
Here is Leigh Halfpenny. He's used up almost a minute of the ten
preparing for this kick. It's good by Leigh Halfpenny. He
stood his ground to check its flight but reward for Leigh Halfpenny in
the travelling Welsh fans -- and the travelling Welsh fans. They're on
the board. Whether or not it's taken anything off the clock, it's not
really a point, it's psychological for Wales who've recorded a score
when they have been desperately defending. They are on the score
board now and have the remainder of eight minutes or so to play against
14 men and they need to make that count. Liam Williams. Jumps under
pressure. Nakaitaci was about five metres in
front. Rhys Webb going nowhere. Not made a lot of ground, but
they'll have the throw-in. You wonder, professional players know
that world rugby and all the elite referees are very, very hot when you
take a player above the horizontal. They're always going to penalise it
and choose to do that, just don't. Alan Wyn Jones wins the lineout.
The Welsh captain, the target so far in the lineout. Successful. Very
successful. Marching France backwards. Rhys Webb from Ken Owens.
Liam Williams in possession. First run for the winger. Jake Ball.
Moriarty. Scott Williams behind Jonathan Davies who has to check.
Lopez with the tackle. Biggar to Leigh Halfpenny. Lamerat makes life
difficult for him. He steals the ball. Davies is back. Chance of a
counterattack here. A real chance. Up to the half way line. Scott
Williams gets Liam Williams away. Rhys Webb. Rob Evans.
Dan Biggar. France's tackling is solid. Scott Williams again. He's
lost the ball again. France turning Wales over three or four times in
this half. Maestri. Dupont, the new scrum-half.
Different approach from Dan Biggar. Warburton with the tackle. France
though back in possession. Liam Williams. Able to get away and twist
and turn and eventually, he's forced out.
A couple of points there. Wales doing some purposeful play by not
looking after the ball and contact twice in a row. If you are going to
use that tactic of the ball going in the air, the chase has to be better.
The initial Welsh tackler getting in there, but not enough support in
allowing France to get or the layer on the floor. Rhys Webb does a bit
of digging for the ball from the line-out. Looks as if Serin is going
to come back on. Guirado dropped the ball. Wales
claiming a bit more, just a knock-on says Barnes.
All this time, it's been eaten away out of the ten minutes advantage
that Wales had. They were a man up. Wales really need to get a score of
some sort within the remaining three minutes. Webb gets the ball away
from the scrummage. Biggar, change of tactic, drills it towards North
who takes it well. Laugh pen write tries to get the pass away. Jonathan
Davies gets a hand to it. Danger, picked up by France. $Dulin forces
himself to the ground. We've lost Jonathan because of his
voice. Martin, your impression so far of the Welsh performance?
Totally blown away for the first 15 minutes. They couldnd hand it will
physicality of the French. They got back into the game. They seem to be
having gaps in the French defence. Big kick for Leigh Halfpenny here.
If they can get it back to 10-6, it will be good after being on the back
foot for the first 20 minutes. Fabulous strike by Leigh Halfpenny.
Beautiful penalty. It was a long way and Halfpenny has success think put
Wales up to six points -- successfully put Wales up six
points. Wales have taken advantage of that.
They've got the score. They are now in an unconverted try. Bearing in
mind, the first 15 minutes they were very much on the back foot. They've
now stabilised the situation. Liam Williams. Nakaitaci. Warburton.
Jonathan Davies. Jake Ball again. Busy carrier in
this opening half hour. Dulin. Advantage Wales. It's the
French full back's kick going out. That unforced error is a real gift
for Wales because it gives them a lineout within the French territory.
Couple of times Wales have been moving the ball, it's been stopped
by passes that haven't been in front of the man. They turn and it kills
the momentum. Tipuric. Moriarty comes into the midfield. Fickou with
the tackle. Wales keep possession. Ken Owens. Dan Biggar did well to
ride the tackle and France again with a player left on the ground.
Lopez. Good slip out of the tackle by Rob Evans, the prop. Whoops. Jake
Ball does well to get the ball to Biggar. Scott Williams. Jonathan
Davies. Liam Williams. Moriarty outside him. Moriarty claimed he was
taken out off the ball. Somebody has to play scrum-half
here. Gourdon gets away from Ken Owens. Halfpenny has to chase back
deep into the 22. Under real pressure from Serin and Dulin.
Fickou. Serin. Lopez. Gourdon. Vakatawa back on the field.
Delivering safely. Guirado tackled by his opposite number. Wriggling
forward another metre. Warburton with the tackle.
Tries to, or thought about slinging the pass out but he didn't. Serin.
Great tackle out of the pass. Serin. Fickou. France beginning to take the
risks with their pass. North over the ball. And Wales have the
penalty. After the slight of hand, it's the heavyweight work of George
North that counts. Great work by George north because
France managed to get three or four offloads there which always
stretches any defence. The work of George North stopped
that completely. Right hand side of the frame there,
Lopez is going off for another head injury assessment.
Guirado coming over to ask questions.
Possession from Wales. Moriarty. Webb. To George North. Probably
needed to go. France get the big strong arms around.
That achieved its purpose, that move. They got in a position that
they wanted. Transwar Trinh Duc back on the
field. Good to see him back -- Francois Trinh Duc.
What is the point about having a low, putting the ball in straight,
if you are going to shove it to the number 8's feet. It's not just
France. Nearly every team at every level. I do not understand how you
can ignore one law completely. Have a discussion, guilty rid of it if
you want to, but do it purposely. The referee's saying, no-one cares
about this but you, you're insane. Every clubhouse in the country they
want to go to and people are screaming about this. You know why
they do it, just because they want to get away from reset scrummage
after reset scrummage. And they don't understand that if they
enforced it, they would have fewer scrums and fewer would collapse.
They know better. Not that any of them play in the front row, but
there you go. Rant over. There we go. You were right in your judgment.
Even the Duke of Edinburgh's noticed it. France with the lineout but it's
come straight to the replacement on for Lopez, Trinh Duc. Midfield. Both
teams happy to put themselveses in midfield.
Serin. Trinh Duc flips it on. Rhys Webb has stolen the ball.
Justin Tipuric checks where the clearers are. Misses them. Goes for
Ken Owens. Dan Biggar behind Justin Tipuric is directing the troops.
Rhys Webb back in the scrum-half position. Dan Biggar keeps the ball
in field. Dulin. Nakaitaci outside him. Good tackle by Moriarty.
How is this going to bounce? It might go all the way. Mistake by
Francois Trinh-Duc who. It's been a conspicuous tack this -- tactic. On
that occasion it has paid huge dividends. Alun Wyn Jones standing
there, the red church to the right. -- the red shirts. Guirado has been
struggling in the first half, we have seen Chat warming up at least
twice. He will carry on, Guirado. Chat is a good player, but Guirado
the captain. They will want him to stay on, at least for the rest of
the first half you would think. That is a better scrum. Moriarty get
it to Webb. Scott Williams could not get the pass away. If Wales get
quick ball it could be danger, Rhys Webb picks the running option
himself. Warburton plays scrum-half. Jonathan Davies. Penalty advantage
to Wales, they have a free play here. Rob Evans. Does well to write
the first tackle. Biggar. Scott Williams along to Justin Tipuric.
Took the ball standing still. Easy tackle for Dulin. No advantage, back
to the penalty. Might debate what you would do with this but again I
would take the points. Almost half time, go in with next to nothing in
it. Number three deemed offside. Leigh Halfpenny with two good
penalties to his name. This is the easiest one. It was Serin who tried
to... It was well read by Serin, it was an awkward bounce. When the ball
comes back later on, as indeed a number of Welsh moves scored from
the handling which has not been a surprise as it could be. Get the
feeling Wales are creating chances but not being exact in the way they
are trying to exploit them. If they click it could be completely
different story in terms of their fortunes. They were 10-0 down after
a quarter of an hour. This to put them back within a point. Three
penalties per Leigh Halfpenny, Wales up to nine, France 10-9 Wales. I
think Wales would be relatively happy with that if they go in with
it at half-time, it looked early on like they might get buried. Looks
like France have changed the kick-off tactic. George North, away,
blamed by George North, Ross Moriarty, even better, show and go.
Webb, Biggar. Evans. Leigh Halfpenny, Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan
Davies. Bounces kindly for a Liam Williams auntie to get brilliantly.
Halfpenny in the action again. All started with the catch by George
North. Bounced back, Dan Biggar again. Justin Tipuric into midfield
and again, not for the first time Wales surrender possession. That's
the fourth time Wales have turned over breakdown ball wide clumsiness
around the fringes. France now a bit clumsy with their presentation of
the ball but this is the end of the first half. Wayne Barnes blows his
whistle. Guirado leads his team off, leading by a single point.
You sense this is a game that has not caught fire yet and is waiting
for a spark but the first 15 minutes or so were all France, Lamerat
finishing underneath the posts. In the first 15 minutes Wales made 30
tackles, France just three, in the next 15, France made 37 and Wales
just ate, so then match on a knife edge. Conrad Smith alongside us,
that is the first half, it is one of those funny things, the first half
of Six Nations rugby you have ever seen live in your life so what did
you think? It's, to be honest, it's not been the best game in terms of
what I have seen in the Six Nations on TV. The execution from both teams
has let them down, they have created things early on it was brands and
then it was Wales. A few wayward passes, turnovers. Both they have
not quite capitalised. What is your verdict? When we have quick balls we
can make the difference, but the speed of the game is not good enough
so we need to release the ball much quicker into the ruck and then we
can create gaps. Things did not look clever for Wales in the first 15
minutes so 10-9 at half-time they would take. That first half
encapsulates both teams for me, flashes of brilliance but some
average rugby as well. Wales were hanging on, brands came out of the
blocks, they grew into the game but the execution was poor. Are you a
fan of low pay he is good -- of Lopez? Game after game he will
improve, he is helped by the forwards, they are really dominant
in the scrums, the physicality is there. But the scrum half need to
give him the ball quicker and that can bring the line speed quicker. It
was a combination of the French physicality and a lovely little chip
which led to the try. Confusion between Rhys Webb and Liam Williams
about who is supposed to be covering. When the try is scored,
it's great execution, great touch from Lopez. If you look at Liam
Williams, questioning Rhys Webb, neither really did anything. We knew
that the line speed, the Welsh team was good so I think to use that, the
kicking part of the game was really good, well done by Lopez. It is
tough to defeat, as a nine or 11 you want to be covering that but it's a
pinpoint kick. Well executed. The big question, when is a yellow card
not a yellow card? As a neutral, Conrad, I thought this was a yellow
card for Jonathan Davies, he knows what he's doing, he knows if the
ball gets away it's probably in. Did not even review it, Wayne Barnes.
Jonathan Davies knows what's happening believe me. I think they
were bought yellow cards. It should be a penalty try in my book as well.
That might be pushing it a bit, but it's either two yellows or no
yellows. If you want to be technical I think the first one is more
deliberate, he's actually looking where as you can argue they are his
head is down. So you say it's a penalty try to France? It could be.
You just want consistency. If you give a reality -- yellow card you
have to give a penalty try afterwards. That is a double
punishment. Why not? If you give a yellow card that means you had the
opportunity to score and it was the same for the Welsh team just before.
The old cliche about treating the ball with respect and when you have
it hang onto it, Wales are getting turned over a lot. The execution has
been really poor at times. France are doing well, they are making a
mess of things at rucks, physical men getting over the ball, some of
the passing, it's really laboured, really poor, they have been stripped
when they are carrying into contact saw the need to look after the ball
because when they do that angle to the phases France look a bit ragged
and they will give you opportunities. Instead of using the
ball we were kicking, I think we should keep it in hand to create
some danger. I think both teams have had opportunities after turnovers,
immediately after a turnover is an opportunity to pay quick enough but
both teams have taken a few seconds to decide what to do and then the
opportunity is gone. Looking at France and what they have got in the
backs, why is the ball allowed to just sit at the back of a ruck or
all and there is no dynamism -- or a maul. Perhaps needs to bring some
speed, we are physically dominant against the Welsh, finding some gaps
into the defence but if we don't generate quick ball it is hard
because the defence gets into position and then it's too late. If
that was New Zealand without seeing the obvious, quick turnover like
that, it would be somebody into the lines going in the corner because
the realisation, the vision, the assessment is sometimes better. It's
the knowledge that it's the hardest part of the game to defend. It's
that time when the defence is not set, they cannot have any line speed
because they have just been attacking. It's the golden time to
move the ball and you do not score every time but you at least try.
That is why they are world champions. We will come onto that at
the end of the game when we can talk the respective merits of New Zealand
and England. George North looks like a man reborn. He has got the energy,
he has not had many standout runs but it's what he's been doing
without the ball which has been impressive. Defended well, looks
enthusiastic. Big hits. He's a big man, tough man to bring down but he
stood his ground. Great turnover as well and this was a key turnover,
brilliant skill from Serin by the way. But getting ahead of the ball
like that, if you can do that as a winger it is invaluable. Right at
the end you saw how good he is in the aerial battle as well. Agility
in the footwork for such a big man, it's outstanding. He's back to top
form. Are you a fan of his Conrad? Very much so. When he has the
workrate like he has today, it's not one area of the game, it's chasing
kicks, when he's doing it all he is going to be a menace on the field.
Key area France lead to improved? Definitely around the ruck, need to
generate quick ball but I really think we need to exploit, turnover
is a bit better. Play behind the defence, we need to make more
passes. We have seen some good individuality is. I think in the
backs, Fickou has made some gaps but we need to be better. And Wales?
Scrambling well but keep the ball and be more clinical to create
chances. Earlier today Scotland beat Italy and got a bonus point, later
on it is Ireland against England with England going for a second
consecutive Grand Slam and trying to do what the women achieved
Across the continent there has been a surge of interest in the women's
game. They are searching for that Grand Slam.
The women in white, Six Nations Grand Slam champions.
England are going for a fourth Grand Slam attempt in the course of the
Six Nations when they are at the Aviva Stadium in about an hour and
15 minutes time. This aristocrat of rugby union
grounds is awash with grand slam fever with Ireland seeking to
deprive England of a Grand Slam. They are dancing all around
Lansdowne road. England not taking their place. What
a flourish. What our performance. Martin Johnson's England have
scored. Goes on his own, scores for Ireland.
O Driscoll. It dashes England's grand slam hopes. Once you have been
successful you either them become a great team you become a failure. We
can achieve greatness by winning back-to-back Grand Slams. A smiling
Eddie Jones, if England played New Zealand next week to wins? In a
one-off game at Twickenham it would be close. I think New Zealand, I am
obviously biased, I still think they have more in terms of what they can
do with the ball, the speed that the play. England on the other hand,
they are finding ways to win. They are not always blowing teams off the
park but like against Wales and France, it's an amazing attribute
for a team. If they played the All Blacks who knows but it would be a
great contest and I hope it happens. You all may have answered the
question, do you see England winning in Dublin? You saw clips of the
Irish, they know how to spoil party. England are so strong, they have not
been exhilarating but they have got over the line, I think the bench,
the finishers will be the difference. Confidence is there for
England, even small margins, against Wales, everyone thought Wales were
going to win the game but in the last few minutes England find the
belief. Playing against the best against like Australia and South
Africa they got the confidence. At this time I think England would win.
This is the table at the moment. Scotland currently second place,
that is how things stand at half-time with brands in second.
The final weekend, the last but one game in the Six Nations
championship. It's a try. Lamerat, France open scoring. And lead grows.
It's goodbye Leigh Halfpenny. Beautiful penalty. 10-0 down. Three
penalties per Leigh Halfpenny, Wales up to nine.
1-point game. I must ask you, has this man got much broadcast
experience, he is a regular contributor to the French rugby
special which must be stressful, how does that work? Especially difficult
at the moment when my French is not quite what I would like it to be. I
have a translator, the questions are asked, in French and it is
translated in my ear. There are a few nervous seconds as I wait for
the translator to tell me the question. The benches and who could
come on in the last 20 minutes could be key. If we look at who will be on
the bench, it's the usual guys from a Welsh point of view. From our
perspective, we have no finishers, we have no bench, we all may now
have Brian Moore and Eddie Butler. COMMENTATOR: It's a ruthless
business, one croaky voice and he is gone. Lopez back on the field. No
changes on the Welsh side. Serin is also back at scrum-half. Liam
Williams comes forward and claims the restart. Last half of the Six
Nations campaign for these teams. Jonathan Davies. Down towards
Picamoles. Dulin sends it high, Biggar goes up. Wayne Barnes waves
play on. Here is Lopez and Picamoles.
Gets through the tackle, Slimani. Gael Fickou, Halfpenny stepping
across him, does very well to foil that attack. Rhys Webb arrives. Ken
Owens. Presents the ball. Lopez cannot get past. Grabs him and
does an excellent job of delaying the off-load. France have to come
from a stationary start and Gael Fickou does well.
Sanconnie a newcomer to the French back row.
Wayne Barnes seeing play on. Well read by a Rhys Webb. Bouncing ball.
Danger signs, Wales pick up scraps, George North. Maestri try to get him
down. Warburton, to Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams. Out of play. And we
have a Welsh player injured. Alun Wyn Jones. The captain doubled up.
Ribs? Wayne Barnes explaining he's not
going to give a penalty for holding the man.
Unfortunately that pass is so indicative of the way both sides
have been playing, making unforced errors which have constantly stop to
the forward momentum. It was a good defensive set by Wales. France
making no real headway. This is very brave by Leigh Halfpenny. The Welsh
captain is still down. If Wales can just find the passage
of play where they are precise the gaps will open and they have the
beating of the French team. We shall restart with a line-out.
Guirado to throw. From the touchline to the back of
the. Picamoles going nowhere, good tackle
by Tipuric and Moriarty together. Biggar will have a chance to go
either way or high for the sky. Leigh Halfpenny impersonate. Dulin
wins the aerial battle. Williams, Dan Biggar a long way
infield. Lopez. The ball out of play. A bit of ping-pong. Wasn't it
entertaining! Such an important part of the game,
kick and chase. The ability to do that. Gael Fickou. Alun Wyn Jones
gets it down. Rhys Webb, certainly not now, Ross Moriarty in trouble.
Scott Williams does well. But it's a penalty, Wales Crossing... Quickly
taken. Gael Fickou, they have somehow made a mess of it. Dulin
looks at the referee, everyone looks at the referee, Leigh Halfpenny
looks at the referee. It's a line-out. There are players down.
That was untidy, slightly short. Guirado with the fingers and from
that moment Wales were in real trouble. There is a case for a
deliberate knock-on. Looked rather similar to the one which France
didn't get away with. Want to be consistent. Looked to me as though
it was an attempted tackle. Guy Noves slightly more impassive than
the men in the stands. Rhys Webb receiving attention on the Welsh
side. Scott Williams coming away with the ball, it is Rhys Webb...
Peter Fitzgibbon the television match official today.
Guirado back on his feet. The French forwards make their way towards the
far touchline. Doesn't seem to have been any requests for any reviews of
anything. Perhaps the injuries have disturbed the flow of the judicial
process? It's going to be a scrum down. Just
knock-on. There has been inconsistency with what the official
and his team have and have not looked that. Apologies if you heard
any bad language, I don't know why I am apologising, it was not me. But
there you are. Serin. First seven metres away from
the Welsh line. Looked vulnerable. France will
presumably reset and have another go.
Tomas Francis. Once France got the momentum there, irrespective of
where the ball was fed, the fact is that they are going to get the
penalty. Still seven metres. France six and a
bit out. -- perhaps six and a bit out. France have conceded the
penalty this time. That will be very badly received by the French crowd.
Not welcomed by these players. On the right hand side, completely
fractured. That's why the scrum side went in favour of France.
Dulin. Well tackled by Williams. Bit closer to the touchline. Tremendous
following up footwork. We are off again. Jonathan Davies.
Jonathan Davies. Biggar. Scott Williams. France can break away.
Advantage over Leigh Halfpenny. Take it and set off. Excellent tackle.
Good work by Tipuric. Fantastic player. Alan Wyn Jones is down
again, a long way from the action. Ross Moriarty.
Pressure on Vakatawa. Wales will have the foot in. Picamole looks
disappointed. Vakatawa looks disappointed. We have a stoppage.
It's Jake Ball, not Alan Wyn Jones. Liam Williams is down too. Martin,
your views? I think the word is scrappy. It's physical but no side
can keep the ball and go through. The decision by France earlier on,
simple three points in front of the post, they've taken the quick one,
and Mr Barnes, I don't think he's the favourite person in this stadium
at this moment when it comes to the French, so yes, hasn't caught light
in the second half. Luke Charteris comes on. Alan Wyn Jones is coming
off and he is carrying that left arm. Sam Warburton will take over
the captaincy. Very uneven effort from Wales in
this respect. Defensively, their back row and inside defenders are
denying France any momentum at all at the moment. They're making the
ball very slow, they're doing a very good job. On the other hand, again
when they're going forward, unforced errors are undoing everything that
they're working for in defence. If they can just get that accuracy,
then they'll cause a lot of problems. But when you're making
those errors, it constantly undoes any good work you're doing.
Leigh Halfpenny taking over responsibility. Taulupe sorry,
Faletau and Roberts prepare to come on. Leigh Halfpenny is going for
goal. Struck with a force. This within the
Halfpenny range. And this to take the lead.
Long enough. Straight enough. Wales take the lead.
And everybody but everybody applauds. Fuad the difference for
the angle and the margin it went over by, that was a 55 metre kick.
That constantly gives the forwards hope. If you can win a penalty
anywhere near the French half, Leigh Halfpenny is likely to do that.
There's a huge psychological flip for you. Conversely, defenders know
they can't cheat and I thinkth infringe.
Surged forward. Lamerat. Ball arrives to complete the tackle.
Penalty to Wales. Good work by Warburton. Liam
Williams trying to compete. -- trying to compete with a man like
Liam Williams. Sam Warburton over the ball. The Welsh have done very
well. Lamerat is going for France in the Welsh 22.
Son Connie coming from the French back room. Sonconnie. He is coming
off. And his replacement. Started in the
starting 15 for France. It's one of so many changes by France.
So France change their front row. Ken Owens with the throw. Justin
Tipuric. Wales have to be careful. Good work
by France. It was because Justin Tipuric did his job. He took the
ball cleanly and the Welsh supporting players not working quick
enough. Couldn't get the ball to the back.
Guirado throws and France lose again. Long from Rhys Webb. Dan
Biggar ships it on to Jamie robbers. Jonathan Davies. Leigh Halfpenny has
to take it further behind him. Williams. Tipuric. The prop does
well. That wasn't a promising start for him. Webb. Davies. Jamie
Roberts. Dan Biggar. To George North. Pass by
Biggar. Switch of play. Jonathan Davies. Wales setting up camp in
this corner. Dulin comes away. Level-footed. Pursued by Jonathan
Davies. Dulins capes. -- left-footed. Lamerat. France risking
things. Picamole. Charteris arrives to try to hold the number 8 up.
Picamole delivers. Serin. Lamerat again. Gets the ball
over. Williams did well to cover two French runners then. Bangs on to the
winner's ankle. Thunders to the 22. Scruffily delivered. Lamerat. Even
when he's lying down, Williams manages to make a tackle. Par pass
from Lamerat. And that's even worse. Charteris. Two Giants meet. France
with numbers. George North has to cover too. Does well, George North.
Still doing well. Low pee. -- Lopez. Atone owe. --
Atonio. Io. -- Atonio. Halfpenny came
forward. Lopez won it. Faletau. Maestri across the field.
Lopez. Lamerat at speed. And it's ripped out of his grasp. Only
towards the other French players. Slightly on the back foot now and
Gourdon tries to restore forward motion. Ball goes out eventually.
Beautiful kick from a position where France were starting to be put under
pressure. Succeeding in reducing France's options all round by
slowing the ball down to the point where it's scleroitc actually. No
option but to get it down the field. We pause because Jake Ball is
receiving attention. Ken Owens can take his time up field. Jake Ball I
imagine will be going off for yet another head injury assessment.
That's the captain already off the field.
Jake Ball coming off the field and Samson Lee is coming on.
Tom Francis comes off. For Samson Lee.
Full contingent in the lineout. Ken Owens is going to... Wig problem for
Wales at the moment now. Lineout severe liqueur tailed. Fortunately
for them, Justin Tipuric is a good lineout forward -- big problem for
them now. Wales in no hurry. Scott Baldwin. He is going to play out of
position presumably. Justin Tipuric does win under
pressure. Wondering if Ross Moriarty is off
the field as well. Rhys Webb. High. They checked their line and managed
to get the tacklers into the French winger. Lamerat. Turns in and tries
to go out. Up to half way. Atonio. Faletau goes low on the big
man. Chouly. And Chouly is bundled out of touch. Good defensive work
again. The way that France moved that ball was just so direct. It
provided Wales with the tackle and it wasn't going to go anywhere.
Luke Charteris is the tallest. Again putting their lineout.
Up goes chart Rick. -- Charteris. Rob Evans clears up for Wales.
Scott Baldwin the winger down. Atonio. Charteris.
Superb steal by Falcao. Liam Williams on the break -- Faletau.
Williams with the follow-up tackle manages to get a hand on Dulin.
Wriggles free. Away from Rhys Webb. Ken Owens makes a very important
tackle. Nakaitaci to Lopez. Biggar and Halfpenny turn and chase back.
Halfpenny into the 22. Stays within the bounds of the 22
and doesn't make much ground despite he has all the time. The highlight
of that was Tipuric's handling. He's a forward.
Faletau has come on for Moriarty, of course. Wales are a bit stuck
without specialist second rows now with Jake Ball off and Alan Wyn
Jones on. Scott Baldwin, a hooker is on.
Probably not just a lack of numbers, players having to boost in different
positions. They are not used to the gaps in the lineout if they don't
get it exact as well. Comes to France. Untidily. It comes to France
but illegally. Penalty for Wales. I don't think Leigh Halfpenny will do
anything other than indicate... Vahaamahina taking Justin Tipuric.
There it is, quite clear. Taking him by the hand. Didn't have to be much.
That's all he needed was to take the inside arm.
And the French crowd don't like it. But they should be directing their
boos at the offender. Look at it this way, Wales, a second row down.
It's a lineout. Only three or four metres into the French half. Would
it matter if they win a ball? Get out and defend.
They have huge signs at the Principality Stadium which says
"respect the quicker". They don't have them in France. -- "respect the
kicker". They don't have them in France.
Halfpenny. Does he like it? He does. He does indeed!
. They are in this position because of their defensive efforts.
Lamerat comes off. Trinh Duc is back on. It's an odd looking Welsh pack.
That goes wrong for Luke Charteris and right for Nakaitaci. Warburton
and Tipuric hold up the French captain. Rhys Webb. Atonio delivers.
The other switch of play. Maestri. The surge by the players, the surge
by the crowd. Chouly waits. Picamole right with
him. Penalty advantage to France. What do France do? Posts. Saw the
passage of play there from France which is potentially II Wales in
this respect. Wales have now got to reshuffle the pack with a lot of
their players. Certainly with Moriarty, the great defender. They
are in danger of being overpowered by a big French side. If they could
hold the line, make the tackles as they were doing, and stop them at
the point of contact, they'll be OK. If they don't and France get behind
them, they're in trouble. Luke Charteris losing out to the ball
coming out of the sky. Nakaitaci took full advantage. The gap down to
two points. Dan Biggar. George North chasing.
Quickly to Lopez. That shows the value of a diligent
chase, although North wasn't going to get the ball, he kept the
pressure on. Stepped back inside and eventually they sliced the ball.
Persistence paid off. Alan Wyn Jones is the obvious
lineout captain. Wales will have to reassess.
Charteris. Samson Lee. Tries to slip it back to
Sam Warburton. France have to be careful not to
give away the penalty. Tipuric picks up. Straight to ground again. Rob
Evans goes to ground. Faletau. Tipuric. Ken Owens.
Jonathan Davies. The 22 metre line. Dan Biggar.
Good footwork by Justin Tipuric. Half a metre. That 22 miter line
again. He's done very well. -- 22 metre. Sam Warburton carries on the
good work. Faletau scrum-half. Ken Owens picks up. Wales creeping
forward. High tackle. No arm out from the referee. A lot of Red
Shirts around there. Dan Biggar. Can't get the pass away. France over
the ball. It is a high tackle. And again, the crowd express their
displeasure. High tackle though. You saw it. They won't be happy because
Ken Owens was on his way down and therefore only a penalty, but the
contact here was high. France of not help their cause at
all by penalties for that, grabbing the arm at the line-out, things
which need not have occurred. Leigh Halfpenny has made them pay and
presumably now will for every indiscretion. Scott Baldwin is
bleeding into the towel. Rob Howley, man management at its most delicate.
Tomas Francis should be OK to come on. Leigh Halfpenny has landed his
sixth penalty, Wales up to 18, France 13.
Scott Baldwin going off, Ross Moriarty looked like he was out of
action with his shoulder but he's coming back on. In an ideal world
they would not want him going back, he definitely was injured. But had
to go back on. Lopez changes direction. It's a knock-on, France
will have they put in at the scrummage. If you our friend he will
want to put as much pressure as you can on the scrum, players playing
out of position, try to win the penalty and stick it in the corner
and try to drive the ball over. Who goes away? Rob Evans... Samson
Lee... Justin Tipuric on the openside.
And one DuPont is on at scrum-half for France. A 5-point lead for
Wales. 73 minutes gone. Robbie Fowler toe
in the second row. -- Taulupe Faletau in the second row. Lopez,
long to Gael Fickou. Knock-on. It's gone backwards says the referee.
Wales are played possession, Williams over the ball. France
counter ruck, Williams tries to counter. It's untidy. Justin
Tipuric, to Moriarty. Wales have a penalty. His job was
not made easy, the ball bulleted at him, a simple soft hand pass would
have worked. But it was made as difficult as it possibly could have
been. Dan Biggar in no rush. Wales again will have to work out who
jumps away, who does what. They have options. A lot of credit to the
Welsh scrum for not conceding a penalty. Could easily have done so.
Could be very different. That ball should have been floated in front of
him. No need. Even so, Moriarty cannot quite hold it. Scrum
advantage to France. France in possession. Dupont. Scrum, France
defeat. -- France to feed. The French pack has not got any smaller.
Of the starters only a few still on. A few tackles made. Justin Tipuric
at the top of that but it only tells half the story, the amount of work
he has done around the field, in the line-out, his ball handling and
tackling have been outstanding. All this time ticking off the clock.
Wayne Barnes has stopped the clock for this little chat.
Dupont leads the scrum. Then Lopez. Dulin. Jonathan Davies makes a
backtracking tackle. Picamoles had to reach for it. Tipuric. Wales hold
up the replacement three quarters. And steal the ball and pump it
downfield and France have to chase back. That is unlucky. France have a
scrum all the way back in the Welsh half. Rhys Webb is down injured and
that looks like a groin. Desperately disappointing if you only Welsh fan,
tremendous ripping work the right tactic to put boot to ball, just
overcooked it. This is excellent stripping work, Rhys Webb and Dan
Biggar, Sam Warburton arrives. Does brilliantly. Only three minutes
left, France need a converted try to win. The Welsh pack need to do a
similar job they have in the last two scrums, just keep it steady.
Two and a half minutes to go. Dupont again. Moriarty. Burroughs himself
into the tackle. France inside the Welsh 22. This is Le Devedec.
Picamoles, raw strength. France within ten metres. Into the last two
minutes. This switch of play by Lopez, on his own. Five metres
short. Dupont. Twists and turns, Wales hold him out. Three metres
short. Yuan Huggett claims the penalty but
the referee says play on. The replacement hooker has a go, Chat.
Sam Warburton near the line makes a tackle. Penalty advantage to France.
One foot, no advantage. France have the penalty. They need try to draw,
a converted try win. Do you take the scrum or kick to the corner for a
line-out? You can sense the exhaustion. In the end I think you
go for the corner because you have no idea which way the referee will
go. Could easily give a penalty the other way with the line-out.
Automatic catch and drive, if you get it right. France are going for
the scrum. Scrum option. Sam Warburton goes
round the team one last effort Wales. The Welsh players encouraging
each other. This is a do or die effort, the last play of the game.
The last three scrums they have done very well to keep them steady.
Taulupe Faletau up in the second row.
Free kick France. Too much weight. Your decision, your decision, would
you like to scrum? OK no problem. Reset the scrummage. The clock is
stopped. Hold your weight, Wales. Scrum option. It hasn't been a
classic but there has been drama. Yes. A very uneven and average game.
But one last effort. Dupont feeds the scrum, it goes down. Wayne
Barnes resets. Wayne Barnes knows this is the last play of the game
and he's going to have to be very sure of who is or isn't taking it
down if he is going to award penalties. Find your side, good.
It's not long that a proper play for 80 minutes but Evans and Owens have
gone the full distance -- that a prop will play for 80 minutes.
Are you injured? Are you injured? Are you injured? Are you OK, fine.
He's not injured. He's just telling me he's not injured. Can only watch
from the sidelines. Ten seconds left of normal time.
This is France's chance. We have to pause yet again. We are into
overtime but we shall have the scrum. I need this higher and I need
the space. I need you higher and I need the space. Higher is good for
Wales. It depends whether the French get any momentum. Once a side gets
going forward. It's one of those. That's just an amazing coincidence!
One second. Do you think you need to head assessment. As a doctor you say
they need a head assessment? It depends how cynical you are. The
doctor of the French team has told me... You fear the worst. But the
doctor actually said he needs an assessment. Far be it from me to say
that is cheating. He is not even staying to have a look, he has to be
assessed so down the tunnel he goes. The only person not really
interested in what happens here. The final play of the game, final play
of the campaign for France and Wales.
All comes the French drive. Picamoles can get the pass away.
Wales swoop. Picamoles. Driven back. no way through. Ken Owens gets a
hand over the ball. Dupont. Short again. The ball delivered to Dupont.
Dupont France so close to the line and still not over. It's a penalty
advantage for France. The ball is going to be held up there, but
France will have the penalty. Yellow card it's going to be, it's not the
final play. Who is going to be sent to the sin-bin? Samson Lee by the
looks of it. Wales will half to bring on, France go for the
scrummage option and Wales will have to bring on a front row forward. On
the game goes. This tremendous goal-line stand. Uncontested
scrummage. If they do not have a suitable replacement. Tomas Francis
is getting ready. Samson Lee in the bin. Send on a hooker, uncontested
scrum do you think? The French will not like it but they found a way to
bring Slimani on so they cannot complain. Was he injured or was he
replaced? Start limping. I think he was replaced that he might need a
head injury assessment. Could give him a clip round the ear. He is not
happy at all. That looks like a very injured Tomas Francis, Wales will
say. They are making him come back on. Scrum, you need to bring three
back on. Tomas Francis is having a word with Robin McBride. Who's
having a word with Scott Baldwin who's having a little practice at
the scrummage. The Welsh forwards coach. You have to have a suitable
replacement. But if a man has been substituted as opposed to take an
offer for injury then Wayne Barnes is right, he has got to come back
on. But we saw with Slimani... Tom Francis, specialist tight head prop
is back in position, it will be a contested scrum. Wales now only have
seven forwards. This is a bizarre end to the game. Who comes off?
France are trying to make a change. A certain farcical element to the
end of this game. This carries on much longer and the yellow card can
come back on. Scott Baldwin... He is still bleeding. We are looking at
the boards. Leigh Halfpenny... Is coming off. So Wales will have the
full contingent of forwards, eight forwards on the field but one light
in the three quarters line. So, France trailed by five, 15 Frenchmen
against 14 Welshmen. What will happen now is he will do
them for not straight. No you won't! Penalty against Wales. Too much
weight. France obviously opt for the same
scrummage they have already opted for.
On we go. 87 minutes just about on the clock. Dupont feeds... The
whistle goes again. Anyone who tells me that modern day scrums are fine I
will just refer them to this. 87 minutes on the clock, this half has
been going on for well over 50 minutes in real-time. Who wouldn't
pay ?84 to watch this? Coming up to 88 minutes. The Welsh
coach Rob Howley. Penalty to France quickly taken by
Picamoles. Short. try which will draw them level.
Going wide. Going wider. Cannot get through. The gone loose but it will
be brought back for the penalty. That's a huge decision because if it
had not happened Wales would have won the game by now. 89 minutes. The
decision of Maestri is... Scrummage again. Let's hope this one doesn't
take eight minutes. Evans in the last scrum did well
against Slimani because he got an angle, Evans managed to hold him up.
Have to do that again. Same position, a bit more room on the
side which Sam Warburton has to cover. The posts in the background.
They are all out left, no Welsh players on that side.
Which means Wales potentially are two defenders down if France do
decide to move the ball left. Off we go again. 90 minutes on the clock.
Picamoles, France have to use it. They come left. Held. It's another
penalty advantage for France. Dupont. Cannot get clear. France is
still in possession. The hooker replacement, Chat. Balls gone loose.
Feel free to still going. Still playing advantage I think. At what
point does advantage end? Back we go. Back we go to the penalty. 91
minutes on the clock. You have hardy few penalties. One more penalty and
you might go down to 13 men. Wales want to stand up at the scrum, not
engage, run the clock down and get the extra man back on. As part of
the subplot, 30 seconds and counting down to the return of Samson Lee.
And Leigh Halfpenny behind him. Meanwhile who would be a coach? Back
to the full complement. Leigh Halfpenny 15, Samson Lee 18.
Utterly bizarre. You're making it clear there has been a bite but we
don't know where it is when it is. An allegation of a bite. Is Rob
Evans the better man is just cramp? Is it cramp brought on by a bite?
There has been an accusation of a bite. And there is clearly a mark.
He said it's the last phase so we know where it might be, we are going
to look at that on the TMO and if he has done it himself we will deal
with that. If he has done it himself?! LAUGHTER
That would just about sum up the day wouldn't it? Allegation of a bite by
George North. The last but one breakdown. 93 minutes played and
were going to have another stoppage. We have to look at the situation.
Tackle made on the full-back and then he's been bitten. George North
has made a tackle on the full-back, in the most bizarre circumstances,
we are all looking for a bite. There is clearly a bite mark on his arm.
Jonathan Davies has just written the word shambles down, which is fair I
think. Best contribution of the day from you I think. Goodness me, 94
minutes and we are looking for a bite. This may take some finding.
Peter Fitzgibbon no doubt will be looking for the tackle.
Not being shown on the replay. No conclusionive footage. Play on.
Here we go again. France. Penalty advantage being played.
Reset the scrummage. I didn't look at what the longest game ever was in
my research. I didn't he'd be coming on in the
97th minute of the game! Rob Evans is going. And we are going to stop,
everybody. We are going to stop again.
We have an issue with the fourth official.
There is an issue or not... It appears there is not. Play on.
Smith on for a scrummage in the 98th minute!
. France go for the line. It's a penalty. Again, same thing. Although
Wales were going backwards, the first player to come out of the
scrum... That's two, next one goes.
Presumably it will be a penalty try. But who are they going to decide to
bin when the French mayer first went up, who is responsible for that?
Off we go again. Dupont. More control. Same old thing. Down goes
the scrum. Dupont held. Faletau back on his feet. Charteris
tries to disrupt. It's another advantage. Dupont goes.
Can't reach out for the line. Goes to the bin for kicking the ball
on the floor... Biggar is going to go to the bin.
Dan Biggar is heading for the bin in the 100th minute of the game. If
France don't score... France over the line, they claim the try. And
the try by Wayne Barnes is awarded and the scores are level.
You'll not get a more controversial end to this game.
We can go all the way back in what seems like a lifetime now to when
France manufacturered a way to get their first choice back on.
It goes through and France have won the game! It has been one of the
longest games on record. It has been farcical towards the end. But, the
upshot is that France have beaten Wales here at the Stade de France.
France 20-18 Wales. It was a tremendous de-Februarysive
effort from the Welsh at the end -- defensive effort. I still go back to
the point to the very questionable substitution which allowed Slimani
to come back on. And well, in the end, that was not satisfactory for
anybody. The final score, France 20-18 Wales.
So ends, the most remarkable game of rugby in the history of the
international game. 79 minutes of not very much and then 21 minutes of
almost one scrum and the most absurd drama really. In the end, France
victorious. Tomas, what did you make of all that? Well, I think Wales
deserved the win, you know. To be honest, Wayne Barnes, you know, his
decisions, you know, very, very strange and I think the length after
the game, you know, seven penalties to award, you know, there should
have been a penalty try. I think that's not normal. Like you said,
for 79 minutes, that was one of the most forgettable games you are
likely to watch, but you will never forget the last 20. It was
incredible. Wayne Barnes lost control, I have a lot of respect for
him but he lost control in the last 20. There were players going off
injured, sin-binned and it was a farce in the end. Conrad, Super
Rugby, all the tries that you had down there, I'll tell you what, you
can't beat a good scrum, especially when it lasts 20 minutes, I tell
you. It was drama. It was a strange end to the Gateshead to be fair, if
France won, I think they created more try-scoring opportunities. If
France won, I would have said they were more disciplined. It was a
strange game. Some great images here of Justin Tipuric. An extraordinary
picture there of Dan Biggar alongside Trinh Duc there.
Not sure how much Kate knows about the game but... In the spirit of the
game, you would have to say, in case we don't have the chance to say it,
how brave was that defensive performance by Wales? Fantastic.
Let's hear from their captain. The most bizarre end to any Test
match I think we have ever seen. You were obviously watching it from the
sidelines, you'd gone off injured. Your perspective? Bit of amusement
that I think we almost got 20100 minutes on the clock, minus time
off. So it was interesting. Really interesting decision 90 minutes in,
we felt with did enough. The repeated penalties almost gave them
enough to get the win. Sean Edwards was app Plettic. They'll have to
review that. How do you then reflect on the Championship for Wales
because that's just two victories from five matches? I think
irrelevance of what happened in the end, we feel we are a better team
than that. Two from five isn't good enough. We felt we deserved more
today but we are not going to use the last 20 minutes which was
outside of the 80 minutes because we felt we done enough in the 80 to win
the game today. Thank you for your time. So here is the table with one
match left to play. It's playing anyway, but as you can see, France
are in second place at the moment ahead of Scotland who beat Italy
earlier on today. Sonia was straight in there with the question, did
France cheat by bringing on a replacement prop when one of their
front row forwards were supposedly having to have a head assessment
injury. What do we think? Cheat is a strong word. There was a lot of
gamesmanship going on. We could see Slimani from the commentary
position, he was ready to go on three or four scrums before this. We
all know concussion is a serious issue, but they played the rules,
France. Before they did it, we speak with Martin and we said they should
bring back Slimani and that's what they did. Let's bring it to light
because it happened at a pivotal moment of the game, but this happens
a lot. It happens, you know, at different times of the game and
no-one's note else Ied it -- noticed it and maybe it's a good thing.
Possibly the most bizarre thing is, you get a player yellow carded after
80 minutes as he has to come back on because for ten minutes the game
carried on. We were going to talk about the Lions and everything else
for half an hour but we have no time left. I hope you have enjoyed it,
you must come again! Thank you very much Tomas and Martin. Still an
extraordinary atmosphere, barely anyone is leaving. There is still
one match to go with England looking for a Grand Slam but that's the end
of our live coverage of the Six Nations Championship and, as we
proved today, there is absolutely nothing like it. Bye-bye.
John Inverdale presents live coverage of the penultimate fixture of the 2017 Six Nations. Wales end their campaign in Paris as they look to record a sixth consecutive victory over France. Commentary comes from Eddie Butler and Jonathan Davies.