Wednesday 22 November 2017

Wales just two wins from glory after defeat of French

Wales 19 France 10

George North's touchdown. Photo: PA
George North's touchdown. Photo: PA

Wales moved top of the RBS 6 Nations Championship after recording a fifth successive victory over France to set up a potential title showdown with England in two weeks' time.

England will reclaim pole position if they beat Ireland today, but Wales are also firmly in the mix for Six Nations silverware after wing George North's second-half breakaway try underpinned an unspectacular 19-10 success.

Fly-half Dan Biggar converted North's touchdown and kicked four penalties for a 14-point haul, while his opposite number Jules Plisson replied with a penalty and Les Bleus skipper Guilhem Guirado claimed an 80th-minute try that Francois Trinh-Duc converted as Wales prevailed at the Principality Stadium.

North's 46th-minute score - his 25th Wales try - calmed the home team's nerves after their first-half territorial supremacy was not backed up by points during a game that will not live long in the memory.

Ultimately, it was a case of job done, with Wales' defence again proving world class as France were repelled during a lengthy period of second-half pressure, before Guirado pounced. In the last six Tests between the countries, Les Bleus have scored just two tries.

With their unbeaten Six Nations record ended this season, France's title aspirations also look over, but Wales remain masters of their own destiny and they will head to Twickenham on March 12, five months after a 28-25 victory there contributed hugely to England's painful World Cup demise.

France's attacking game was restricted in so many ways, and Wales just had to be patient as they strung together several threatening passages of play, utilising centre Jonathan Davies' powerful midfield running and full-back Liam Williams' aerial excellence.

Les Bleus flanker Antoine Burban briefly left the field for a head injury assessment after being flattened following a Warburton charge.

Wales now move on to Twickenham and a clash against their fiercest rivals that will not be for the faint-hearted.

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