Wales Under 20 suffer first defeat

Feb 23 • General News, International, Six Nations • 1736 Views • Comments Off on Wales Under 20 suffer first defeat

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Wales Under 20 endured their first defeat of the Six Nations campaign as France left Parc Eirias with a 16-10 win.

Guided by scrum half Baptiste Serin, France’s second half performance saw them take home the spoils as lock Jean-Baptiste Singer crossed for their only try of the game.

The two sides had gone into the break level at 3-3, Wales staying in the game despite France monopolising both territory and possession. Serin and Ethan Davies had exchanged penalties but after the interval, France did enough to claim victory.

Singer’s close-range effort, converted by Serin, was the key moment and when Dafydd Howells saw yellow for a dangerous tackle, Wales’ hopes of getting back into the game ended.

Replacement hooker Ethan Lewis crossed for a late converted try but it wasn’t enough to earn Wales victory.

With the rain hosing down from kick off, France stamped their mark early on. With 12 minutes on the clock, the visitors had had 90 per cent of possession, Serin giving them a thoroughly deserved 3-0 lead with his first penalty of the day.

In the wet conditions, Wales were struggling to get going and with their line out not providing a constant source of ball, the home side couldn’t string a decent run of phases together. Harri Evans’ knock on summed up a frustrating first half an hour for Byron Hayward’s men but despite dominating the game, France couldn’t put more points on the board.

Davies missed two albeit very difficult penalties chances to get Wales back into it, Serin also awry with one effort, as there remained little between the teams on the scoreboard. Under the pump for most of the first half, the Wales forwards were slowly getting to grips with the France pack and after winning a penalty at a scrum, Davies then levelled things up with his third attempt of the day.

Now back in the game, there were encouraging signs for Wales but before half time, they were dealt a blow as debutant full back Steffan Evans was yellow carded for a high tackle. Luckily for the home side, the indiscretion failed to cost them any points as the sides went into the break even.

Evans’ time on the sidelines continued into the second half but on his return, there was still nothing between the sides. Ironically, Wales’ return to a full complement then saw them go behind, Serin’s second penalty restoring a three point advantage. Things then got worse for Wales as Singer dived over at the scrum, Serin expertly guiding the touchline conversion between the uprights.

Facing a 10 point deficit, Hayward introduced Lewis and Rory Thornton to the Wales pack and although Wales continued to hold their own, chances of points were few and far between. And when Howells was the second Welshman yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on François Fontaine, the home side were up against it.

Serin made Wales pay from the resulting penalty and with the scrum half’s kicking game controlling the match, France maintained their advantage. Howells returned to the field with 12 minutes remaining but Wales were unable to get back into things.

Play was interrupted in the final 10 minutes as replacement scrum half Luc Jones suffered a worrying looking injury with Lewis’ late effort, converted by Luke Price, a consolation score.

Wales: Try: Lewis; Conv: Price Pen: Davies
France: Try: Singer; Conv: Serin; Pens: Serin (3)

PHOTO CAPTION: Wales Under 20 prop Nicky Smith takes on the French defence.

Photo supplied by: RBS 6 Nations / WRU

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