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Six Nations | Group Stage
Mar 18, 2023 at 2.45pm UK
Penaud (10', 77'), Danty (34'), Atonio (44'), Fickou (49')
North (8'), Roberts (56'), Williams (66'), Dyer (80')

France beat Wales to put pressure on Ireland

France beat Wales to put pressure on Ireland
© Reuters
France record a 41-28 victory over Wales to temporarily move top of the Six Nations table, putting the pressure on Grand Slam-chasing Ireland to beat England.

France have ensured that the destination of the Six Nations trophy will go to the final game courtesy of a 41-28 victory over Wales at the Stade de France this afternoon.

The bonus-point victory takes Fabien Galthie's side temporarily to the top of the standings, one point above Ireland, who must now either avoid defeat or claim a losing bonus point against England in the final game of the tournament in order to claim the title.

France, who ran in seven tries en route to a historic victory at Twickenham last weekend, were once again irresistible at times in attack as they did all they can do to put pressure on Andy Farrell's side.

However, they allowed Wales to run in for four tries, which means that they still trail Ireland in points difference and would therefore still finish second if Ireland score four tries against England or lose by fewer than seven points.

Wales, meanwhile, end the 2023 Six Nations with five defeats to their name - the first time that has happened in successive seasons for 20 years - but will take positives from some elements of their performance in Paris, following on from their win over Italy last weekend.

Indeed, Warren Gatland's side started the match in blistering fashion, leading to George North going over for the opening score after only eight minutes - a try which saw him surpass Shane Williams as Wales' leading try-scorer in Six Nations history.

France hit back immediately as Damian Penaud touched down for the first of his two tries, and three more scores within 15 minutes of playing time either side of half time saw Les Bleus surge out of sight as Jonathan Danty, Uini Atonio and Gael Fickou all went over.

With the bonus point - and seemingly the win - in the bank, France may have begun to look at the points difference column with the thought to making Ireland's task in Dublin that bit tougher, but such thoughts were short-lived as Wales came fighting back.

Two tries in 10 minutes from Bradley Roberts and Tomos Williams showed resilience from the visitors and, while France never looked in any real danger of letting their lead slip, defence coach Shaun Edwards - who enjoyed such success with Wales under Gatland - would not have been happy with how they let Wales back into the game.

Some of the damage appeared to be repaired when Penaud went over for his second try late on, lifting him to the top of the individual try-scoring ranks for this year's tournament.

However, Rio Dyer then ensured that Wales got the final score of the game with a try as the clock turned red, securing a bonus point for the visitors.

France have now scored more points in this year's Six Nations than they have managed in any other edition of the tournament, and their attention will now turn to Dublin as they hope for a favour from an England side that they demolished just seven days ago.

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