France 20 Wales 6: We can be proud of our display, insists Iestyn Harris
France 20 Wales 6: Iestyn Harris hails his young side despite losing their Triangular International Series opener in Lens
Iestyn Harris insisted he was “proud” of Wales’ performance despite suffering a loss to France in the Triangular Series opener.
The visitors started impressively in the first half before France’s Super League experience told and they eased to a comfortable 20-6 victory in Lens.
“We can be proud of our team,” said Wales coach Harris. “They controlled ten or 15 minutes in the first half and that’s where they got their tries.
“When we got our shapes right, we managed to get into the right areas. There are some areas of our game that we need to work on in the next week before England.
“To put a mainly young side, with a lot of teenagers, into a match against an experienced France who are full-time and to see them play and defend well is something we can be happy with.”
It was Wales who drew first blood thanks to David James who touched down after just 90 seconds.
But France countered and had a Clement Soubeyras try disallowed for a forward pass, before opposite winger, Mathias Pala, squandered a high Thomas Bosc bomb.
The home side would have gone into the interval with their heads down but for Bosc who set up two and scored in the final nine minutes of the first half.
The first came in the form of Romaric Bemba who grounded Bosc’s pinpoint grubber under the posts with his first touch of the ball.
Bosc then sent over team-mate Cyril Stacul who powered over an injured Christian Roets to score.
The Catalan stand-off was then in support to round off an impressive attack on the right-flank which when converted, gave his side an 18-6 lead.
The 29-year-old added a penalty goal on the 50-minute mark when Wigan prop Gil Dudson was sin-binned for a late tackle on William Barthau, an incident which resulted in a flurry of punches.
Wales worked hard in defence to prevent France from making use of their one man overlap, but could not score themselves and will have to beat favourites England next week to have any hopes of reaching the final.