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International: Wales 16 France 28

put in a valiant effort against the French with a weakened squad, but that wasn't enough as the visitors held strong towards the later end of the game for a 28-16 victory.
International: Wales 16 France 28
by NRL

put in a valiant effort against the French with a weakened squad, but that wasn't enough as the visitors held strong towards the later end of the game for a 28-16 victory.

Wales' pack was significantly weakened for this fixture, with Gil Dudson, Ben Flower and Craig Kopczak all out injured, leaving the likes of Jordan James and Jacob Emmitt to lead their nation around the park.

However, France had a lot more experience in the forwards through the likes of Olivier Elima and Mickael Simon, and this told over the 80 minutes.

Wales started the brightest with a few opportunites early on, but on no occasion did they materialise. Both sides managed to complete their sets, but neither did anything inventive to provide the opening.

The French did start to dominate after about ten minutes however. William Barthau had a try ruled out for a knock on as he reached out to the line in an attempt to ground the ball.

Jean-Philippe Baile also went close as he looked to have touched down, but was held short. In the next play that elusive score did come, Bosc feading Stacul with an inside pass for the try. Bosc converted, 0-6.

Instead of this inspiring Wales to strike back, it rallied France on further. Soubeyras had his effort dissallowed for a forward pass in the buil-up, but Barthau did send Mounis through a hole in the defence to score under the sticks. Bosc was again successful in converting, 0-12.

France had a real grasp on the tie at this stage and looked as if they could go on to the score more points. A Rhys Williams try for Wales on the hooter disrupted the momentum a little though, and gave the hosts something to build on in the second period.

James Child awarded the Welsh two penalties in quick succession and with the French line disjointed due to the pressure, the ball went to the left with Danny Jones and David James able to find the space to feed Williams in at the corner. Jones missed the conversion, and it was 4-12 at the break.

Wales came out fighting, looking to reduce the deficit further, but missed a fantastic opportunity as Danny Jones failed to put Ollie Olds through as he was supporting with acres of space after Bracek broke from deep.

They also had a Christian Roets try disallowed before France increased their lead to ten points. There was strong build-up play from Mounis and Mathieu Griffi crashed over for his first. Bosc missed his first conversion, 4-16.

Wales soon hit back on the back of a penalty, and it was Ollie Olds who created the space for David James to reach over for his sides second. Danny Jones added the extras, 10-16.

At this point, tries were being exchanged constantly between both sides, and France went over for their fourth when Simon broke through a hole and set up Griffi for his second. He showed great strength to make it over the line from 20 metres. Bosc converted for 10-22.

Wales replied once again as Rhys Williams went over for his second to become Wales' top international try-scorer of all time. This came after Divorty and James did superbly to keep the ball alive down the left.

Soubeyras sent Stacul over for his second soon after to regain Frances 12-point cushion following a break down the left, and just over ten minutes remained. Both of those scores being converted by Bosc and Jones for their respective sides.

Wales tried their upmost to make a surge for victory late on, but didn't get the rub of the green on the day. Rhodri Lloyd firstly had a try ruled out as he was deemed to be offside off a Danny Jones kick and the stand off was once again denied an assist, as the French charged down his offload to an unattended Rhys Williams on the wing.

1.David James
2.Jack Pring
3.Michael Channing
4.Christian Roets
5.Rhys Williams
6.Danny Jones
7.Ollie Olds
8.Jordan James
9.Steve Parry
10.Jacob Emmitt
11.Andy Bracek
12.Rhodri Lloyd
13.Ross Divorty
14.Daniel Fleming
15.Iwan Brown
16.Joe Burke
17.Craig Moss

Tries: Williams 39, 60, James 52
Goals: Jones 2/3

1.Cyril Stacul
2.Jeremy Guiraud
3.Jean-Philippe Baile
4.Mathias Pala
5.Clement Soubeyras
18.Thomas Bosc
7.William Barthau
8.Mathieu Griffi
9.Kane Bentley
20.Mickael Simon
11.Olivier Elima
12.Antoni Maria
13.Gregory Mounis
14.Eloi Pelissier
21.Romaric Bemba
16.Andrew Bentley
17.Kevin Larroyer

Tries: Stacul 15, 67, Mounis 32, Griffi 48, 55
Goals: Bosc 4/5

Referee: James Child
HT: 4-12

Attendance: 1,464

Quotes from coaches:

Wales coach Iestyn Harris was certainly pleased, despite the result, "There's massive positives for the future of Welsh Rugby League, and it's a really positive day".

"We're dissapointed, as that was a test match we feel we could have won, but we're on a journey towards the World Cup and beyond"

"If you take Jordan James and Christian Roets out, everyone else is under the age of 25. There were some 17 and 18 year olds out there and they stood up exceptionally well against an experienced French side with some really good Super League players in it"

"It's important that we keep this quality of opposition. We've a longer term plan to be up there and ready to challenge for the next World Cup and we feel we need this kind of competition to do that"

Head coach of France, Aurelien Cologni was delighted with the victory, "We knew before arriving it was going to be a tough game, our game plan worked as our defence was strong."

"We worked hard on our execution and I was happy with it. I'm proud of the team and we have shown that we're at a level to compete with sides such as Wales"

On the future he said, "I was asked to do this mission and I'm happy with what I have done. I gave my maximum for the French team, but it's not up to me what happens next. I enjoyed the mission which was set."

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