30th June 2007, 16:34
2007 Wales A 22 France A 18
In the first ever international between the two nations at this level,
In the first ever international between the two nations at this level, France arrived in Wales as hot favourites but, against the odds, Wales narrowly beat their visitors in a thriller at Port Talbot.
The torrential rain that had been falling all day stopped just before kick-off and the French made the perfect start after Pierre-Yves Formenti successfully kicked a third minute penalty.
Wales fought back and scored the opening try after five minutes when Gareth David went over in the corner but a second Formenti penalty two minutes later levelled things at 4-4.
The earlier rain had left the pitch very muddy leaving the pitch very heavy underfoot. Despite the conditions both teams were eager to pass the ball with Gaylord Severac giving France the lead on the half hour with some powerful running. After a handling error on the next set from the kick off Chris Roets capitalised levelling things up again at 8-8.
And the Welsh went into half-time with a six-point lead after a well-worked Lee Williams try on thirty five minutes with Paul Emmanuelli converting.
France came out and made their intentions clear with some great handing which levelled things up again two minutes into the second half with Jerome De Azevedo touching down under the sticks and Formenti converting. Great Britain under 18 skipper Williams went over in the corner for his second 15 minutes into the half to put Wales back in front once again.
The heavens once again opened and after a number of turnovers with a greasy ball Thibault Leib levelled things up again with a fine individual effort with ten minutes to go. The match was evenly poised until three minutes before the end of the game when a dramatic Welsh match-winner by Matt Entwhistle who sold the defence a dummy, went inside then out to slide in the corner.
Wales Coach Wayne Williams said "I'm delighted; this is a great result, particularly in the conditions. This is just the preparation we needed before our game against Ireland in Carlow in two weeks time. The lads have really stood up in both our games so far this season and the coaching staff have some tough selection decisions to make before our trip to Ireland."
1. David James (Blackwood Bulldogs)
2. Lee Williams (Valley Cougars)
3. Chris Roets (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
4. Paul Collette (Cardiff Demons)
5. Daniel Blethyn (NPT Steelers)
6. Paul Emmanuelli (Blackwood Bulldogs)
7. Gareth David (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
8. Mark Wheeler (Newport Titans)
9. Byron Williams (Blackwood Bulldogs)
10. Karl Hocking (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
11. Jason Hill (Torfaen Tigers)
12. John Bowd (Newport Titans)
13. Matt Entwhistle (Torfaen Tigers)
14. Jon Trickey (Cardiff Demons)
15. Graham Hughes (Cardiff Demons)
16. Dean Scully (NPT Steelers)
17. Dan Williams (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
Tries: David (5), Roets (33), Williams (35, 55), Entwhistle (77)
Goals: Emmanuelli 1
1. Arnaud Boussie
2. Jerome De Azevedo
3. Gaylord Severac
4. Mickael Cousseau
5. Benjamin Casty
6. Olivier Bessiere
7. Oliver Estebanez Captain
8. Fiteli Telai Vice Captain
9. Thibault Leib
10. Benjamin Serrano
11. Oliver Caussinus
12. Mathias Mercanti
13. Guillaume Picard
14. Rodrigue Masson
15. Cyril Hoffmann
16. Julien Dubourg
17. Pierre-Yves Formenti
Tries: Severac (30), De Azevedo (42), Leib (70)
Goals: Formenti 3
Referee: Simon Matthews (England)
article by Ian Golden
30 June 2007