There are disappointing finals. This match, between the last two teams vying for victory in the Tournament, was on the contrary a real summit. Game, intensity, suspense, concluded with the victory of the XV of France in the 82nd minute thanks to a test by Brice Dulin (32-30).
Before this final in apotheosis, the beginning of the meeting had been unbreathable, at the rate of a strong beat every three minutes. Between the kick-off and the referee’s first whistle, the Blues hold the ball 3’15 ” until a penalty against the Welsh. Three minutes later, following two “penalty kicks”, Romain Taofifenua flattens the ball with one hand on the goal line, after a superb start from Grégory Alldritt (6th, 7-0). The first try conceded by the Welsh in the first ten minutes of a match of this Six Nations Tournament 2021.
Three minutes later, Louis Rees-Zammit crosses the defensive curtain to serve his scrum half Gareth Davies, tackled and returned by Charles Ollivon, who prevents him from flattening (10th). This is only a postponement. The pressure is intense and the start of the match at a triple gallop is accelerating again.
A new essay by Dupont
After a lot of work from the Welsh pack, Dan Biggar crossed the line to register his team’s first try (12th, 7-7). And as the pace is not high enough, the two teams raise the tone again with a great try from Antoine Dupont at the conclusion of an action perfectly initiated by a little kick over Brice Dulin to open up. the in-goal route (14th, 14-7).
But once again, in power, in strength, the XV du Leek reunites with his third-row Josh Navidi, who flattens on the line (18th, 14-14). The breaths become shorter, the faults appear, like this bad pass from Teddy Thomas (24th) which ends, on the next action, with a Welsh penalty passed by Biggar (25th, 17-14).
For a high tackle on Gaël Fickou, Romain Ntamack, who came into play to replace Matthieu Jalibert left due to a concussion, passes the penalty (34th, 17-17). In 35 minutes of play, France has already crossed the 100 tackle mark, having had the ball less than 40% of the time. Faced with this frenzied rhythm, the Roosters are struggling to find their usual continuity in the game, like this forward Alldritt, unusual because he had found an interval (38th).
Without ball, on the back
Half-time comes with a score of parity (17-17). But the figures are already showing differences: 63% possession and 68% occupation to the advantage of the Welsh, who advanced 206 meters (against 163 meters to the French), not to mention the 115 tackles made by the Blues, for “only” 73 to the Welsh. And especially two substitutes already entered on the tricolor side.
Back from the locker room, the XV of Le Poireau resumes his work of high intensity undermining, rewarded by a penalty from Biggar (46th, 20-17). Without succeeding in repelling the attacks, undergoing too numerous and too rapid assaults, the French defense retreated, and left too many opportunities. And like last week, a try is granted without the video proving the touch of the ball in the in-goal by Josh Adams (51st, 27-17), given that the referee of the match, Luke Pearce, had estimated that it was valid before viewing and that none of the proposed slow motion could contradict it.
Ntamack’s penalty (54th, 27-20) does not change the appearance of the meeting. In all sectors, Wales is dominant. Mohamed Haouas, for having collapsed a maul, receives a yellow card, leaving his at 14, and offers three more points to Biggar (58th, 30-20).
Four times in the in-goal, not a try
Even the percussion of Julien Marchand, completed in the in-goal, does not find favor in the eyes of the video (64th). And when Dulin, in pain, flattens (68th), the video, again, shows the fingers of Paul Willemse going into the eyes of Wyn Jones during a clearing. Try refused, and red card for the second row of Montpellier. France, at 14, still goes to the promised land twice, but each time, the ball is not flattened, well contained by a Welsh body (71st and 72nd).
Finally, Charles Ollivon manages to finally mark the test of hope (76th, 30-27). Too late ? Well no. In this totally crazy match, a last penalty kick at the entry of the 22m, and a courageous attack, takes Brice Dulin, at the end of the line, to the test (82nd). That of an unexpected victory (32-30). The one who deprives the Welsh of a Grand Slam, and who leaves France with immense hope: to win the Tournament. This will require defeating Scotland, Friday March 26, with the offensive bonus and more than 20 points difference.