If championships had been awarded for creative advantage, this must had been sufficient to safe France a consecutive name. They blew Wales away when it mattered, which used to be both sides of half-time, however they might bemoan the 4 tries their guests got here away with, 3 of them scored when it did not in point of fact topic, lengthy after the outcome have been secured.
For all that the bonus level took France quickly transparent of Ireland on the best of the desk, nobody in Paris critically idea their best possible efforts could be sufficient. France and Ireland are to this point forward of the remaining that it feels as though whichever holds house merit for his or her fixture will most likely safe the name. This 12 months it used to be Ireland’s flip.
England did their best possible to praise France for the way in which they humiliated them the week ahead of at Twickenham, however the distinction at school between the highest two and everybody else is obvious. This victory over Wales used to be no longer fairly that stage of humiliation. Indeed, Wales started and completed the fit with power and potency.
Far from all dangerous, then, nevertheless it has been a dispiriting Six Nations for them, off and on the sphere. They have veered between the super-experienced and the very younger on this championship. It used to be poignant how the creation of a number of the latter gave the impression to elevate their pace for the general quarter.
“For a lot of the boys, it is probably going to be our last Six Nations game,” mentioned captain Ken Owens. “But it has got to return in the future. I’m simply proud to have led the crew out, a crew that has put large pleasure into the Welsh jersey.”
Scotland had obliged Wales by securing a victory over Italy, which meant they would be spared the ignominy of the wooden spoon, whatever happened. Resigned to fifth place, they drew in the clean air and played their best rugby of the tournament. For 10 minutes or so.
Three times Wales sent penalties to the corner. In the third, Owens drove to within inches, and Rhys Webb picked out George North for the game’s opening try. France could barely get their hands on the ball.
That is a condition to frustrate more than just the Stade de France’s clientele these days, such is their facility. But they do not require many touches to make something happen. Sure enough, they responded within two minutes of North’s try. Romain Ntamack broke imperiously and flicked a pass off to Antoine Dupont, whose long ball to Damien Penaud was delivered with even greater authority. Penaud had the first of a brace.
France stretched their lead over the next 20 minutes to six with two Thomas Ramos penalties, before blowing Wales away with three tries either side of the break. Ntamack was again key to the second, in the 34th minute, his half-break releasing Ramos. Gaël Fickou went close, before two long passes found Jonathan Danty on the right in more than enough space for a man of his power to finish.
Wales were grateful for the whistle that signaled the end of the first half, but there was nothing they could do about the one that started the second. France unleashed a pair of set-piece moves with which to rack up the bonus point. They scrimmaged an early penalty; Dupont broke from the base to within a foot; Cyril Baille carried to within an inch; and Ramos sent Uini Atonio crashing over for his first French try on his 50th cap.
Five minutes later, France hit an even higher note off a lineout. None of this driven-maul business, Danty and Ntamack combined to send Fickou tearing through the Welsh midfield, and the bonus point had been secured within 10 minutes of the resumption – 34-7.
That, obviously, was the game. But a curious rhythm can develop when that happens, not to mention when the dominant team cannot know if they have done enough. France to Wales open again and again after that, but with French enthusiasm can come opportunity. Wales, to their credit, capitalised, their replacements seeming to raise the tempo.
Ntamack tried to find Ramos behind his own tryline, when Ramos tried to run. Justin Tipuric was over the tackle in a flash, and dazzling hands among Wales’s backs paved the way for their second just short of the hour, finished by replacement hooker Bradley Roberts. Ten minutes later, they had their third, Tipuric again down the left, where he was helped by Tommy Reffell. Tomos Williams darted over.
That closed the gap to 13, but France reimposed their dominance with a fifth, the forwards batting away at Wales’s line.
They know, though, more than most forwards, to surrender the ball to the executioners out wide. Ntamack and Ramos did the honors for Penaud to claim his second. Ramos’s conversion extended the lead to 20, which at that point was enough to match Ireland’s points difference.
There used to be authentic anger, then, within the French ranks when Dyer escaped at demise for Wales’s fourth. France had accomplished all they might. At least their destiny will probably be returned to their very own arms come September, once they open their very own World Cup in opposition to the All Blacks.