France 41-28 Wales: Five-try Les Bleus keep pressure on Ireland

By Sports Desk March 18, 2023

France kept their Six Nations title hopes alive with a 41-28 victory over a spirited Wales at Stade de France.

Les Blues boosted their championship quest by earning a bonus point to displace Ireland at the summit of the table, and they will be crowned champions if the latter fail to beat England later on Saturday.

Damian Penaud scored twice while Jonathan Danty, Uini Atonio and Gael Fickou also crossed for the hosts, who claimed their 17th win in 18 Tests.

Meanwhile, George North, Bradley Roberts, Tomos Williams and Rio Dyer went over for the visitors but, despite the bonus point, they have now lost their last five meetings with France.

Wales had scored the fewest points in this year’s championship, but they made a purposeful start in Paris, as a lengthy spell of pressure culminated in North going under the posts in the eighth minute. 

But France responded just two minutes later. Romain Ntamack embarked on a dangerous burst before offloading to Antoine Dupont, who found the unmarked Penaud for his 25th international try. 

After Thomas Ramos kicked the hosts into the lead, they stretched their advantage in similar fashion six minutes before the break. This time, Danty was on his own to cross in the corner after his team-mates brilliantly worked the ball from left to right.

France built on their momentum by crossing twice within 10 minutes of the restart. A neat move culminated in Atonio's first international try, before Fickou rounded off a series of sharp passes that carved open the Wales defence.

The last six meetings between these sides in the Six Nations had been decided by five or fewer points, and Wales ensured a degree of respectability on the scoreline with Roberts and Williams cutting the deficit to 34-21. 

Les Bleus thwarted any hopes of a dramatic turnaround as Penaud went over in the corner, yet the visitors had the final word with Dyer racing away in the dying moments.

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