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France overpower Wales ahead of Six Nations title decider against Ireland

Teddy Thomas (left), Antoine Dupont (centre) and Charles Ollivon all scored tries in France's 38-21 win over Wales at the Stade de France.
Teddy Thomas (left), Antoine Dupont (centre) and Charles Ollivon all scored tries in France's 38-21 win over Wales at the Stade de France. AFP
3 min

France warmed up for their final Six Nations rugby match against Ireland with a 38-21 victory against Wales at the Stade de France on Saturday night.

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The hosts were stunned at the outset when Leigh Halfpenny scored after 65 seconds in Wales’s first attack.

Dan Biggar converted and then added a penalty to give the visitors a 10-0 lead.

France got a foothold when Cyril Baille went over and Romain Ntamack added the conversion.

Dominance

But after Biggar added another penalty it was one-way traffic as Antoine Dupont scored two tries in four minutes to give France a 21-13 advantage at the break.

The sides traded penalties before Dupont set up skipper Charles Ollivon after 66 minutes to extend the lead 31-16. Wales threatened a comeback with a try but Teddy Thomas and Ntamack had the last word with a try and another conversion to take his tally up to 13 points in the match.

 "We won the match with one training session in the week and we scored five tries against the Welsh. It's not nothing," France coach Fabien Galthié told France Televisions.

"Before saying there are things we can improve on I'm very happy to have managed to start like this after such a long time away," he added.

Ireland next

France’s next opponents, Ireland, moved to the top of the Six Nations table with a 52-17 annihilation of Italy in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.

Hugo Keenan and Will Connors both scored tries on their international debuts as Andy Farrell’s side gained a bonus point - after scoring seven tries - to take them onto 14 points ahead of next week’s final round of games.

The 2020 tournament was suspended as European governments locked their countries down as part of the battle to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though the number of infections are on the rise across the continent nearly eight months later, Ireland will travel to Paris in an attempt to claim the title for the second time in three years.

France can also lift the crown if they beat Ireland and England fail to overcome Italy in Rome.

However, England will be expecting a handsome victory and a bonus point against a side which has conceded 144 points in four defeats.

With three of the six teams potential champions, pundits have dubbed the final round of games ‘Super Saturday’.

 

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