The cliché ‘a game of two halves’ couldn’t possibly be more suited to any other rugby game than this one, as Wales came back from 16-0 down at half time to win 24-19.
The French were superb in the first half, as many people began to wonder at half time whether France were back to their best. France’s constant pressure was too much to handle for Wales as unconverted tries from Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget plus a penalty kick and drop goal from Camille Lopez meant the French were in full control of the tie going into the changing rooms at half time.
However, France’s second half collapse emphasises the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ unpredictable characteristics that us as journalists associate with French rugby.
Wales second half recovery was admirable, with Head Coach Warren Gatland claiming Wales have forgotten how to lose. A try from Tomas Williams just six minutes after the restart, started the revival. A horrendous handling error on his own try line by Huget meant George North could score one of the easiest tries of his career as he capitalised on the fumbled loose ball.
North was then in again after intercepting a poor, wayward pass by French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina. The Welsh winger outpaced everyone and ran from his own 22 to score.
North’s predatory instinct is a great sign for Wales fans and a scary thought for opposition defences. Gatland’s men needs consistent impact performances from him if they have any chance of lifting the Six Nations crown.
France scored just a solitary penalty kick from Lopez in the second half, with their major collapse a huge worry for France Head Coach Jacques Brunel. Even more worrying for France is the fact that two of the tries they conceded were from basic mistakes.
Even so early on in the campaign, I feel as if this loss is detrimental to France having a successful Six Nations. I can’t see them going away to England or Ireland and coming away with anything and the game at home to a much improved Scotland will be another tough game, they should beat Italy comfortably, but with this French side nothing seems to be predictable.
Wales weren’t fantastic either and Gatland has a lot of work to be done as they were shambolic in the first half and against a better side like England or Ireland, they would have been put out of sight. Next up for them is Italy away and then a hugely crucial game at home to England.
Written by Ben Jaycock.