PARIS – Full-back Brice Dulin scored a try from the last attack in an astonishing game for France to beat Wales 32-30 and deny the visitor a Grand Slam on Saturday while keeping their hopes of winning the Six Nations title.
Wales, at 13 men, led by 10 points with three minutes remaining against France, who fell to 14 men. Then France captain Charles Ollivon moved on for a converted try of just three.
France kept up the heat, receiving a penalty at the last minute of regulation time. He traveled 60 yards on the pitch with several intense phases and released an unmarked Dulin on the left for a winner in the 82nd minute in an empty Stade de France.
“What an incredible scenario. This team believed in its lucky star, ”said Fabien Galthie, coach of France moved. “The players believe in themselves, they know how much these fans in front of their televisions support them. “
For Wales it was agony, missing a record 13th Grand Slam. He still leads the league, but the title will be decided in Paris next Friday when France face Scotland in a game that was postponed last month.
“I thought we were good enough for 80 minutes, but it was only the last few seconds,” said Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones. “Our bad discipline exerted a lot of pressure.”
To win a first Six Nations title in 11 years, France need another bonus points victory and hope that is enough to beat Wales on the points difference.
The most experienced Welsh side of all time, with almost 1,000 caps, comfortably handled the pre-tournament favorite by scoring three tries with perfection off the tee of opener Dan Biggar. But under sustained pressure, Wales’ No.8 Taulupe Faletau and full-back Liam Williams were sentenced with eight minutes remaining.
France had shot a man moments before when lock Paul Willemse was kicked out for the mind-blowing Wyn Jones accessory.
But inspired by Ollivon, the French stayed focused and shattered Wales in dramatic fashion.
A frenzied first half saw France lead twice, losing two key players to injury, trailing 17-14, then leveling at 17-17.
Right after Romain Taofifenua’s opening try, Wales were ruled out when Ollivon slipped his arms under scrum-half Gareth Davies as he put the ball to the ground. But a minute later, Biggar charged and converted.
France recovered when Dulin and butterfly half Matthieu Jalibert set up a try for star scrum half Antoine Dupont and 14-7.
Wales came back again when flanker Josh Navidi burst in with Biggar scoring the extras and a penalty.
In a deadly half, Taofifenua was replaced by Swan Rebbadj due to a knee injury, and a stunned Jalibert gave way to Romain Ntamack after his jaw struck a forearm.
Ntamack equalized with a penalty six minutes before the break.
Wales were in the French half from the start and after several phases of play the advantage came to naught, Biggar’s penalty bringing the score to 20-17.
The momentum was with the visitors. Winger Josh Adams chased flanker Justin Tipuric’s kick, was dumped by replacement scrum-half Tomos Williams and dived. But it needed confirmation after a forensic examination by referee Luke Pearce and TMO Wayne Barnes, who had a busy night with tries and no tries and foul play.
Wales’ 10-point lead was reduced to 27-20 thanks to another penalty from Ntamack, keeping France in the win – and the title – in contention with 25 minutes left.
Pearce gave Wales another try just before a time when winger Louis Rees-Zammit dove dramatically into the right corner, but Barnes felt he had put the ball on the touchline thanks to a surge from Dupont.
After France mainstay Mohamed Haouas was sentenced and Biggar received a penalty for 30-20, Wales were left in control for just 10 more minutes.
But France showed courage at the end of the game that it lacked recently. Hooker Julien Marchand bulldozed three Welsh defenders on the tryline, but the TMO could not confirm a grounding.
The Gael Fickou Center also moved closer, then Dulin squirmed. But the TMO spotted Paul Willemse in contact with the left eye of Welsh pillar Wyn Jones. Willemse was kicked out and the trial refused
Instead of mentally breaking France, the home team was even more inflamed.
“We made mistakes, we got cards,” Fickou said. “But we didn’t give up when he was 14v15.”
The irrepressible Ollivon nearly scored on the left and France received more help when Faletau and Williams were ordered to sin as Pearce tired of the Wales offense repeat under pressure.
Wales’ Grand Slam hopes followed them off the field.
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