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Monday, March 21, 2011

France crush Wales' outside hope of Championship win

France crush Wales' outside hope of Championship win

Lionel Nallet scored a brace of times as France brushed aside Wales 28-9 and leap-frogged the visitors into second place in the final 2011 Six Nations standings.

The agile French lock scored either side of half-time, with his tries killing off any ambitions the Welsh had of pulling of a shock win.

Whilst Ireland's 24-8 win over England meant that if Wales could beat France by 27 points they would be crowned Six Nations champions, they were blown away by a clinical France side who looked to reclaim some face after the shock defeat to Italy last week.

Welsh fly-half James Hook took a well-struck penalty early on and wing Leigh Halfpenney was fractions from a score until a brilliantly timed ankle tap from fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc prevented the score.

Instead it was France who got the games first try, with Nallett throwing a dummy and charging to the line; and when Hook's attempted clearance kick was charged down by Julien Pierre early in the second-half, Nallet was allowed to touch down for the second time.

Hook was in the sin bin for an alleged dangerous tackle when Vincent Clerc made the extra man count, collecting Trinh-Ducs chip to score France's third try.

A content Marc Livremont said that he was encouraged by the manner with which his team bounced back from defeat to Italy last week.

"What is important here was the reaction of the players," he said.

"I feel happy. I also feel a bit of relief. I'm really impatient to leave this room to go and enjoy a beer. It's not about what was said outside the group but what was said within the group and this what went right on the field today," the coach added.

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