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Sunday Mar 1, 2015

Wales keep title hopes alive with win over France in Paris

Wales keep title hopes alive with win over France in Paris
15
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Wales are still in the running for a Six Nations title as they kept their hopes alive with a 20-13 victory over France in Paris on Saturday. Leigh Halfpenny kicked 15 points as Dan Biggar scored their only try, while France scored through Brice Dulin.

The win in Paris was Wales’ fourth consecutive victory over France, giving them hope that they can end the tournament on a high and claim another title, despite losing to England in their first outing.

Coach Warren Gatland has praised his team’s defence, particularly in the pack up front.

“We have a good record against France I thought the forwards were sensational. We scrummaged well, the line-out was good and I thought we deserved to win,” he said.

Gatland also said that the French-based Welsh players made a big difference on the day.

“I think the advantage was that our French-based players were able to give an insight into a number of the French players, having been team-mates or played against certain players,” he explained.

“I think for the Welsh players based over here in France it was probably as much them wanting to prove their worth and value and the reason why they are over here. In terms of that self-motivation, it was wanting to perform.

“I thought some of Jamie Roberts’s carrying was excellent, the goal-kicking of Leigh Halfpenny was potentially the difference, and Luke Charteris was outstanding defensively in line-outs and rucks. I thought there was an edge about those players, and they did a good job for us.

“It is a massive game for us at home against Ireland in a couple of weeks. Ireland are clinical at what they do – they don’t make a lot of mistakes,” he added.

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre said that his team need to get the basics of rugby right.

“You cannot spend the whole match defending, and it is very difficult to win with 50 per cent goal-kicking. We really need to work on the basic skills.

“Teams like Wales and Ireland know exactly how to play these type of games. We made some really sloppy mistakes, and with a goal-kicker like Leigh Halfpenny it meant it made it very difficult for ourselves.”



15 Comments

  • oliver
    9:10 AM 05/03/2015

    I totally agree. Saint Andre has tried around 80 different players I think! I've said it before, but I still believe we should've built the squad around Parra/Trin Duc since the 2011 final.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:12 PM 04/03/2015

    I'm purely a neutral when it comes to France, I like to see them beaten when my team plays them, however, I've got to admit, I'd rather watch a game where both teams fight tooth and nail with lovely rugby but France gets the win, that watch France plod about and have my team kick to victory... If we consider for the moment that France is not a 'top' team (they are, but they're misfiring at the moment), you'll see that with most 'top' teams they bring in a few young players, the players get a bit beaten up by their first cap, but the surrounding team is so strong it supports them and allows them to gain experience, until the next game when the young players have a bit more stature, confidence and feel they can hold their own, and then they become a constant name in the team, but they'd always have had the core of the team surrounding them... until time progresses, players retire and the 'young players' are now old players and they are the core of the team.. it repeats.. So going back to France, I almost feel like they have lost that 'core' they're putting in players that haven't been on the international scene for a while, or new players, etc, and they haven't really got the 'core' to support these players (because the core has been swapped around so much).... it seems to me they almost need to pick their best team on paper and let St Andre go on holiday for a few months.. let the players win/lose/draw games, without being swapped or cut from the team, then you'll start to see the players who can really hold their own, you'll develop the 'old heads' (even if they're still mid 20's) and then you can go back to bringing in the new guys.

    Reply
  • felipeg
    9:30 AM 04/03/2015

    I guess its the only/main explanation indeed. Those 80 players st Andre tried. Players don't seize the few opportunities they get... they have to shine as soon as you put them on and if they don't they are replaced. Or maybe France has too many quality players but none good enough to form THE team. An army of 80 top quality mercenaries but no 15 men team... Boudjellal said that St Andre is stuck in the 80s, talking about guys ready to die for the shirt and all that...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:42 PM 03/03/2015

    Dan makes a very good point about the French riches, there aren't many teams in the world that can have quality players step in. I think the only problem with the French players is how they have been recycled time and time again. Parra and Trinh-Duc are brilliant players, but I get the feeling that St. A would throw them in 9 and 10, they'd do their best, but would struggle slightly due to a lack of international exposure lately, then as the misfire he'd throw them on the scrap heap...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:18 PM 03/03/2015

    True I suppose, although some of the commentators/pundits, mentioned things about how perhaps the huge amount of players St Andre has gone through has left players feeling more at pressure...but then of course this is a catch 22, I believe Clive Woodward mentioned a couple of years ago regarding Michalak, how coaches can sometimes get into situations where everyone says don't pick that player, but the coach continues to pick him for some reason.... So in that scenario, players need to feel some sort of pressure that if they don't perform then they're going to be asked to sit down for a bit..

    Reply
  • oliver
    2:21 PM 03/03/2015

    Reading your comment again, I just realized you said exactly the same thing! (ie the game has changed by turning pro, suffocating the French style) right, see you on 21 March then!! ;-)

    Reply
  • danknapp
    1:09 PM 03/03/2015

    You have an embarrassment of riches. I hope for England's sake that France continue to blow hot and cold. I enjoy watching them immensely because of it.

    Reply
  • oliver
    11:53 AM 03/03/2015

    I don't think the French style has changed actually, it's rugby that's changed. Defenses are a lot tighter, there's less space. Most French fans think Saint Andre has done a poor job and I agree! Basically Parra and Trin Duc are still young, they have the experience of a world cup final, they should have remained our first choice at 9 and 10 IMO.

    Reply
  • felipeg
    10:02 AM 03/03/2015

    That's the riddle. Everybody says that those players are talented, but the team doesn't work. So one would logicaly blame St Andre. But then, what can he do when players just drop the ball (like its hot, drop it like its hot...).

    Reply
  • oliver
    8:07 AM 03/03/2015

    I may be the only one but I thought France was finally playing better (not least because of Parra's presence), and at least TRYING things. Even if there were too many handling mistakes. At least it was a bit more entertaining than the Welsh use-Jamie-Roberts-as-wrecking-ball-tactic (yeah like Bastareaud I know, but at least Bastareaud makes offloads and passes every now and then). Basically it came down to France missing way too many kicks and when the opposing striker is Halfpenny, well that's that. He was brilliant. UPDATE: Parra is out injured for the remainder of the tournament......now that's bad news for les Bleus.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:31 PM 02/03/2015

    Started to watch the game, but early on it became clear it was going to be dull. France bore me now, I'm amazed a team full of such talent can be so appalling, can we still blame Saint Andre? Wales, surprisingly BAD...

    Reply
  • felipeg
    4:15 PM 02/03/2015

    I didin't watch the game, but still am disappointed! Thoses french stats... how is it even possible to loose the ball so many times? Losing the game, committing so many mistakes, and with 3-4 players getting injured. No way it could have been a worse rugby saturday with Scotland losing to Italy. Thank God Ireland won on Sunday!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:07 PM 02/03/2015

    Gatland: "I think the advantage was that our French-based players were able to give an insight into a number of the French players, having been team-mates or played against certain players". I think for the Welsh players based over here in France it was probably as much them wanting to prove their worth and value and the reason why they are over here. In terms of that self-motivation, it was wanting to perform."Two very valid points.

    Reply
  • colombes
    11:07 AM 02/03/2015

    Work also with: I watched this game, which was disappointing, because i had to call my mother-in-law. A mediocre match between 2 mediocre teams. During this boring afternoon, Wales was the less mediocre side thx to roberts charges, halfpenny foot and logically won it. France sloppiness was quite pathetic to watch. Les bleus clearly lack confidence, they can't finish their actions and just play 'in reaction'

    Reply
  • danknapp
    9:28 AM 02/03/2015

    I watched this game, which was disappointing, because I had some paint drying in the other room which I could have enjoyed.

    Reply


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Wales keep title hopes alive with win over France in Paris | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos