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Saturday, February 27, 2010

France stay on track for Grand Slam with win over Wales

France stay on track for Grand Slam with win over Wales

France remain unbeaten as they held off yet another Welsh comeback last night, winning 26-20 in the Six Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium.

France led 20-0 at halftime following intercept tries by Alexis Palisson and Francois Trinh-Duc, but allowed Wales back in the game in the second half, allowing them to get within seven points and sniffing a win.

Penalties from replacement Frederic Michalak and another by Morgon Parra gave France their third successive win, despite a brilliant solo try scored at the end by Shane Williams.

Welsh coach Warren Gatland was optimistic, insisting his team are on the right track.

"If we can stop being our own worst enemies and get it right we are not far away from being a very good side. At no stage did we feel under pressure because I don't think they played a lot of rugby," he said.

"We could have thrown in the towel at half-time, but we played some fantastic rugby in the second-half and showed some great character and put ourselves in a position to win the game.

"We were the architects of our own demise. Two intercept tries were really costly. It is hugely frustrating. Our fitness was superb, and we had France on the ropes. They were out on their feet. There was only one team playing rugby, and we had 70% territory and possession in that second-half," he added.

Defence coach Shaun Edwards felt that there was a trend towards their side giving away easy intercept tries.

"To keep France to no offensive tries was a great effort. But there is no doubt people are doing their homework and have seen they can get intercepts, because more than 30% of our tries conceded over the last 18 months have come from intercepts," he said.

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