Monday , January 18 2021

Wales v France: Rugby World Cup 2019, quarter-final – live! – The Guardian, Theguardian.com


54 mins.Alldritt is off, replaced by Paul Gabrillagues.

Tomos Williams is on at scrum-half for Wales.

PENALTY! Wales 13 – 19 France. Dan Biggar.

53 mins. It’s over with little fuss.

Updated

51 mins.Wales drive it up through the forwards which France counter-ruck and clear, but it’s only as far their own 10 meter line and back come Wales and they have a penalty for Alldritt not rolling away. Biggar wisely points at the posts.

49 mins. Wales penalty from the restart for France collapsing the maul. It’s in the corner and Wales finally have something resembling a platform to attack from.

Camille Chat is on for Guilhem Guirado

RED CARD! Sebastien Vahaamahina, France

And off he goes. That was as stupid as it was dangerous and uncalled for.

France’s lock Sebastien Vahaamahina receives a red card.
France’s lock Sebastien Vahaamahina receives a red card. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images

Updated (at 4.) am EDT

49 mins.France catch the lineout and set it up beautifully in the maul, but Vahaamahina is pinged again for being about the head and neck of Wainwright. He has his hand all over his face and follows it up with an elbow straight to Wainwright’s chin.

This will be the end of the France lock’s game.

45 mins.France win a lineout and are up on the 22 again. Camille Lopez tries an absolute yahoo of a drop goal from 4o meters and it has the legs but it’s a wide right.

France’s Bernard Le Roux gathers the lineout.
France’s Bernard Le Roux gathers the lineout. Photograph: Peter Cziborra / Reuters

Updated

Second half kick off

40 mins.Wales gather the restart and Davies’s box kick starts a short period of kick trading. Liam Williams gather his own kick eventually and Wales are in possession and into the France half.

First and foremost, that was a terrifically entertaining half of rugby.

France with the ball look outstanding, but Wales have allowed the game to be without structure too often – they need to reduce the number of times they kick the ball away in the second half.

The few periods of possession Wales have had had their patterns working and if the handling errors can be reduced the nine points could be pulled back. This is contingent on France being starved of possession, because when they do have it, Dupont and Ntamack are so far running the show.

If I was Gatland, I’d be tempted to give Patchell a run at 10 off the bench as his greater comfort in a complex picture would be what Wales need.

Updated

Half-time.

41 mins.The clock is in the red as France give a away a free kick for early engagement and Gareth Davies gratefully puts it into touch to end the half

PENALTY MISS! Wales 10 – 19 France. Romain Ntamack

37 mins.It was out left a bit, but should’ve been slotted. It comes off the post and Wales have to play it and can only send it out for a lineout which will in turn be another France attack to defend.

Updated

36 mins. France send a few waves at the Wales line that sees Penaud nearly in again on the right, but Wales get it back and kick it away, but all this brings is another France attack. Ntamack is orchestrating this permanent state of broken play beautifully. France have a penalty on the 22

Wales very much need half-time or some possession, whatever comes first.

Updated

33 mins.It’s all on top for Wales as they spill the ball in the France 22 and Biggar is forced to cover Medard’s kick through. All he can do is run it into touch in his own 22.

TRY! Wales 10 – 19 France. Virimi Vakatawa

31 mins.France are into the Wales 22 against Wales’s fourteen men. They work it left to Penaud off his wing in midfield, he offloads to Vakatawa who employs his trademark step to score from 10 meters.

Ntamack slots the conversion.

Moriarty has the decency to look ashamed in the sin-bin.

Virimi Vakatawa of France scores his sides third try.
Virimi Vakatawa of France scores his sides third try. Photograph: David Rogers / Getty Images

Updated

YELLOW CARD! Ross Moriarty.

29 mins.Ross Moriarty’s first contribution is to nearly take Fickou’s head off with a high arm. Utterly stupid and completely avoidable

Play goes on for a bit as France are nearly up to the try line through Penaud but Wales spoil it enough.

It’s yellow and Moriarty is very lucky.

Wales’ Ross Moriarty tackles Gael Fickou of France and receives a yellow card.
Wales’ Ross Moriarty tackles Gael Fickou of France and receives a yellow card. Photograph: James Crombie / INPHO / Shutterstock

Updated (at 3.) am EDT

27 mins.Wales have the ball in the France half and are regularly working a pattern that sees them give two short passes out from the ruck for a carry to be taken up, repeatedly softening up the French line in the same part of their defense. It pays off as they suck France in to create some room out wide to work in eventually, but Wainwright knocks on. Didn’t come off that time, but the plan is clearly working.

Navidi is off injured, replaced by Ross Moriarty

24 mins.Vakatawa drop the ball and Parkes is on it, he carries it a few steps and punts it forward for foot race to the French line but Ntamack touches it down.

France have won back their own 22 drop out and are on the attack again and up to the 22. It looks ominous but Jefferson Poirot is penalized for a neck roll at the ruck. Two penalties for France, both for mucking about around the opposition’s head and neck.

PENALTY! Wales 10 – 12 France. Dan Biggar

20 mins. He doesn’t miss those.

Dan Biggar converts the penalty.
Dan Biggar converts the penalty. Photograph: Edgar Su / Reuters

Updated

19 mins.After many scrum resets, the ball eventually makes its way to North coming off his wing and Wales are up to the France 22. Wales decide to keep in tight through forward carries until Vahaamahina is pinged for a high tackle. It’s right in front on the 22 and Biggar will lap this up.

Updated

17 mins .Vahaamahina takes the lineout, but they mangle the catch and drive leading to the ball being stuck and Wales having a scrum in the France half.

mins.It looks like even the teams have had enough of this madness and some kick trading sets in to give everyone a breather. After a few iterations, France have a lineout in their own half

TRY! Wales 7 – 12 France. Aaron Wainwright

13 mins.France have possession, but the ball comes loose and Wainwright gobbles it up and shows some great pace to run in unopposed from 30 Meters.

Biggar slots the two.

Well, this is all very crazy so far.

Aaron Wainwright runs in to score for Wales.
Aaron Wainwright runs in to score for Wales. Photograph: Edgar Su / Reuters

Updated

12 mins.The French linespeed in defense is enormous, and it looks like they are very offside to me, but ref Peyper has no issue with it. Either way, Wales are too lateral.

10 mins.Wales have a lineout just in French territory. This is the chance to play some o their own game for the first time, but some imprecise handling see the ball back with France in their own 22.

TRY! Wales 0 – 12 France. Charles Ollivon

8 mins.France try to go wide early in the own half, Vakatawa steps Navidi to get thtrough the tackle line and the French flood through in support. It goes via Dupont to Ollivon who runs in from 40 Meters.

Ntamack doesn’t miss this time.

France’s flanker Charles Ollivon scores their second try.
France’s flanker Charles Ollivon scores their second try. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images

Updated

TRY! Wales 0 – 5 France. Sebastien Vahaamahina

5 mins.Wales can only clear it for an attacking lineout to France 10 meters out. They catch and drive, it’s recycled once and the lock carries two over the line with him to score.

Romain Ntamack horribly pulls an easy conversion.

Sebastien Vahaamahina scores the opening try for France.
Sebastien Vahaamahina scores the opening try for France. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images

Updated

4 mins.Some kick tennis, and France openside Charles Ollivon who has been a nuisance in defense already helps his side get the ball back. A kick through has North scrambling on his own line and the clearance invites France back at them. Fickou is very nearly in, but Tipuric comes in and wins an invaluable turnover. The Wales defense was all over the shop, so

Kick off!

Dan Biggar launches the ball deep into French territorry Owen Watkin grabs it. Not a bad start for the late inclusion.

Wales’ fly-half Dan Biggar kicks off.
Wales’ fly-half Dan Biggar kicks off. Photograph: Charly Triballeau / AFP via Getty Images

Updated (at 3.) am EDT

“Whichever a French team turns up, the match will be preceded by the two greatest national anthems in the sporting world.” Says Carol Rizza.

Testify Carol, testify.

Updated (at 2. 55 am EDT

“I’m a Welsh ex-pat living in NZ.” Mark Taylor informs us, “I watched the 6 Nations and, although Wales won the Grand Slam, they should probably have lost to ENG & SCO and were losing 16 – 0 at the half to FRA. I’m worried a reversion to the mean is due. ”

I can see what you’re doing here, Mark, the old lack of comfort at being in pole position that Wales struggle with. France undoubtedly threw that Six Nations game away –literally in the case of Yoann Huget– but the other games were a masterclass in suffocating rugby, not panicking and doing enough to win.

What effect with the loss of Jonathan Davies have on Wales?

Any team would have some adjusting to do losing an 85 – cap player the morning of a quarter final and added to this, Davies is absolutely world class. But, his form has not this year has not hit the dizzying heights he is capable of, so he does not leave as gaping a hole as he may have done previously

His replacement Owen Watkin has not struggled at this level in his 19 matches so far, but none of those were a World Cup quarter-final.

Gatland included Watkin in his squad at the expense of Scott Williams, the much experienced Ospreys center and if today doesn’t go well, the post mortems in Wales may focus on this as the final, defining decision of The Gatland tenure.

Jonathan Davies watches from the sideline.
Jonathan Davies watches from the sideline. Photograph: David Davies / PA

Updated

What happens next?

We already know the make up of one of the semis, England face New Zealand next Saturday in Yokohama.Walesthe winner of this game takes a trip to Tokyo to play either Japan or South Africa whose quarter final is next up.

New Welsh confidence

Wales have had to get used to the unusual situation of expecting to win big games of late, not that this appears to bother winger Josh Adams.

Teams

Such is the stability of the Wales squad thatWarren Gatlandis in the position that he could’ve named his starting fifteen six months ago, with the exception of Biggar for the injured Gareth Anscombe.

However, Jonathan Davies is a very late withdrawal with injury bringing Owen Watkin in to start and Leigh Halfpenny onto the bench.

Huge young prop and recent Saracens recruit, Rhys Carre, makes the bench and the remarkable year of Aaron Wainwright – who only starting playing rugby five years ago – continues as he starts his fourteenth test of 2019.

France, meanwhile, field yet another new center partnership in Fickou and Vakatawa and have Romain Ntamack at 10, a 20 – year-old who isn’t even first choice out-half for his club – and that’s before you even get into the rumors that the players are not speaking to either each other or the coaches.

However, Antoine Dupont is one of the best scrum-halves in world rugby and all of France’s few good spells recently have been when he and wing Damian Penaud go well. The forwards are also a powerful unit and could give Wales some bruises in periods, but I still don’t see it being enough to overcome this Wales side.

At all.

Wales:Liam Williams; George North, Owen Watkin, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar. Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tom Francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.

Replacements:Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Leigh Halfpenny.

France:Maxime Medard; Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Gael Fickou, Yoann Huget; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Rabah Slimani, Bernard Le Roux, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Wenceslas Lauret, Charles Ollivon, Gregorie Alldritt.

Replacements:Camille Chat, Cyril Baille, Emerick Setiano , Paul Gabrillagues, Louis Picamoles, Baptiste Serin, Camille Lopez, Vincent Rattez

Updated

Preamble

Hello everyone and welcome to thisRugby World Cupquarter-final from Oita.

Page one ofWill This Do? The Great Big Book Of Lazy Sporting Clichesis ‘you never know which France is going to turn up’, and oh how the punditocracy still love to churn out this vapid nonsense. The reality is that for quite a while now you know exactly which France will turn up – a completely rubbish one devoid of any coherent shape, gameplan or leadership.

If the past 8 years was the equivalent of traveling 500 miles, the France rugby team is like taking an autoroute of general ineptitude punctuated with a service station of competence every 150 miles or so that has a maximum stay of twenty minutes.

“Ah, but what about the first half vs Argentina?” I hear some of you starting to type. To which I will counter, but what about the second half vs Argentina and every half after that? Oh and pretty much every half before that for the past five seasons. From 2018 to the end of this year Six Nations, France managed to win only five games, all of them at home, and they last had what you might call a reasonable year of results in 2014.

By any measure you care to throw at it, Wales should win this game. They are ranked six places higher in the world, have beaten France 7 of the last 8 outings and, perhaps most crucial of all, they are not barely concealed shambles.

Still, you never know which France might turn up though, eh?

Updated

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