Dupont inspires France to beat Wales 38-21 in 6N warm-up

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Eight months after winning Cardiff in the coronavirus-stricken Six Nations, France beat Wales 38-21 at home on Saturday thanks to two tries from inspired scrum half Antoine Dupont.This test was a warm-up for the last delayed round of the Six Nations next week. France can still win it by beating Ireland, who beat Italy 50-17 earlier on Saturday as the tournament resumed in Dublin.

Wales suffered a fourth consecutive defeat for the first time since 2016.

France beat Wales 27-23 in Cardiff before the pandemic brought the competition to a halt, but neither team was well prepared for this competition.

“We won with a training session and managed to score five tries against the Welsh, that’s pretty good. That’s what you have to remember, ”said France coach Fabien Galthie. “I hope we made the French fans happy who were unable to come here.”

Wales were right away in the French at Stade de France, however, with full-back Leigh Halfpenny scoring the first try after 58 seconds. Flyhalf Dan Biggar converted and scored a penalty for 10-0, only to lose his lineup entirely later.

France retaliated barely 10 minutes later when half-butterfly Romain Ntamack combined with Dupont, who was stuck near the line, and prop Cyril Baille followed to burrow.

Then winger Teddy Thomas broke down on the right and fed Dupont inside and France’s second try came when center Virimi Vakatawa burst in the middle and unloaded himself for Dupont in load plunges between posts.

Ntamack converted all three tries to go 21-13 at the break.

After Biggar’s radar went off target with two missed penalties, Thomas tapped a lineout and Dupont broke through the defense before feeding captain Charles Ollivon for a converted score under the crossbar.

France’s defense then got sloppy and allowed prop Nicky Smith to charge over the line.

Thomas then showed the flair that continues to get him selected despite his inconsistency, collecting a pass to the right and crushing Biggar’s header before collecting and running for another converted score, giving Ntamack six of six on the night.

“We were very good,” French center Gael Fickou said. “We made too many mistakes on the pitch, this is the big area where we need to improve.”

On a disappointing night for Wales, captain Alun Wyn Jones tied the world record for rugby test matches with his 148th cap – 139 for Wales, nine for the British and Irish Lions – against the great retired New Zealander Richie McCaw.

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