France 9 – Wales 8
14 man Wales suffered semi final heartbreak as France claimed a place in the 2011 World cup final with a narrow one point win.
James Hook gave Wales a 7th minute lead with a penalty however the tide turned the way of the French on 17 minutes when Alain Rolland sent off Sam Warburton for lifting Vincent Clerc off the ground, although there didn’t appear to be any malice in the tackle. Morgan Parra rubbing further salt into the wounds when he slotted home a penalty after the Welsh scrum collapsed to level the tie.
On 33 minutes the French took the lead for the first time when Parra again scored with a penalty and they headed into the half time whistle with the slenderest of leads.
The opening minutes of the second half saw Hook make way for Stephen Jones however the first chance of the half fell to Parra who missed with a drop goal attempt however he made amends on 50 minutes when he scored his third penalty of the evening to put France 9-3 ahead.
Mike Phillips handed Wales a lifeline on 57 minutes when he scored a try from nothing to bring Wales to within a point of the French however they missed the chance to take the lead when Jones’ conversion hit the upright.
From then on Wales pushed for the winner and with the clock ticking down they tried to set up a drop kick for Jones however despite playing phase after phase they couldn’t find space needed for the veteran fly half and in the end France held on to clinch a final spot next weekend.
More to follow….