World U20s 2015: France run in three tries to defeat Wales
Fabien Pelous's youngsters begin Pool A with a win as Wales frustrate with an error-stewn performance in northern Italy
France survived a late scare to record a 19-10 win over Wales on the opening day of the 2015 World Rugby U20 Championship in Calvisano.
Early tries from Toulouse duo Arthur Bonneval and Thomas Ramos left Wales training 12-0 as Les Bleuets went on a rampant attack with full-back Ramos a stand-out danger as Wales at times looked clueless in defence.
In an error-strewn performance, it took Wales 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard through the boot of Daniel Jones, but France continued to press and looked to have scored a third, but Anthony Meric’s effort was ruled out.
Ramos, who had earlier converted his try, missed two penalty attempts to increase France’s lead in the second half, but Fabien Pelous’s charges eventually prevailed with a superb length of the field effort when Damian Penaud raced away before sending Lucas Blanc over to extend their lead to 19-3 when the conversion was added.
Wales rallied late in the game when Pontypridd and Cardiff Blues centre powered over off the back off a scrum five with Jarrod Evans adding the conversion to close the gap to 19-10, but failed to convert further late pressure into points and could count themselves lucky not to suffer a heavier defeat as they held out France at the death.
“It is a very important win, we started well and we scored early in the match, then in the second half there was a good reaction from Wales and we struggled also for the difficult weather conditions because it was very hot today,” Pelous said.
“The most important thing was the win, we played against them in the Six Nations, but today was harder because in the second half they were able to play their rugby.”
Wales will need a much improved performance and a win in their second match against England on Saturday if they are to have any hope of reaching the semi-finals.