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France 11-12 Wales

France (4) 11
Tries: Nauroy, Sadoaui Goal: Munoz Drop-goal: Gigot
Wales (0) 12
Tries: Williams, Thomas Goals: White (2)


Gareth Thomas celebrates
Ex-Welsh union skipper Thomas scored in Albi as he led the league team

Wales stunned France in Albi to seal qualification for the 2011 Four Nations tournament in dramatic fashion after a momentous European Cup triumph.

Lloyd White's last-gasp penalty, his second of a thrilling clash, secured the victory with a composed kick.

Quentin Nauroy broke the deadlock for France before Rhys Williams scored from Danny Jones' pass to drag Wales level.

Wales captain Gareth Thomas touched down before Teddy Sadoaui's score for France but White won it at the death.

Wales were two-time World Cup semi-finalists during Welsh rugby league's golden era.

But the national team had endured a barren spell when rugby union went professional and players stopped 'going north' to turn professional in the 13-man code.

Welsh rugby league great Iestyn Harris, however, has transformed Wales since he was appointed coach in September 2009.

And after winning the European Cup last season, Harris' men have successfully retained their trophy with three successive wins to earn them progress into next year's Four Nations.

Wales will clash with rugby league powerhouses England, Australia and New Zealand in the game's showpiece tournament - as Harris' team shocked favourites France in front of a capacity crowd in Albi.

France started strongly and Cyril Stacul was prevented a try-scoring chance by Christian Roets while Elliot Kear desperately cleared up after a Nicolas Munoz grubber kick.

Remi Casty and Olivier Elima also went close for France before Nauroy broke the deadlock after he got on the end of a Teddy Sadaoui pass after full-back Cyril Stacul started the move.

Nauroy also scored a second but Crusaders full-back Kear brilliantly snatched the ball away as the Frenchman was looking to get on the end of a grubber kick.

Wales though they equalised when Williams dived onto a loose ball but the video referee ruled that Kear knocked on when diving for the ball in the build-up.

Williams, though, did score in the 46th minute as he dashed onto Danny Jones' pass touch down his 10th Welsh try to move him behind Harris in second place in the all-time try-scoring list.

And Wales increased their lead on the hour when skipper Thomas led by example as, after a fine passing move involving Jones, White and Kear, the veteran Crusader scored.

France looked for a way back and Sadoaui earned the hosts a score when Yohan Tisseyre's knock-down, after out-jumping Williams, found its way to Sadoaui who scored and Nicolas Munoz converted to level the scores.

White looked to have scored Wales' winner but his drop-goal was ruled out for obstruction.

And from the resulting penalty, France went up-field and converted what looked to be the winning score as Gigot kicked the goal.

But with four minutes to go White, from 40 metres out, ignored the boos and showed his composure to kick a momentous penalty to seal Wales the win.


France:
Cyril Stacul, Frederic Vaccari, Jean-Phillipe Baile, Teddy Sadaoui, Quentin Nauroy, Tony Gigot, Nicolas Munoz, Jamal Fakir, Kane Bentley, Remi Casty, Olivier Elima, Michael Simon, Jason Baitieri
Substitutes: Sebastien Martins, Mathieu Griffi, Andrew Bentley, Yoan Tisseyre,

Wales:
Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Christiaan Roets, Gareth Thomas, Mark Lennon, Ian Webster, Danny Jones, Jordan James, Lloyd White, Jacob Emmitt, Chris Beasley, Aled James, Ben Flower
Substitutes: Jordan Ross, Ross Divorty, Gil Dudson, Neil Budworth

Referee: Phil Bentham (England)



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see also
Harris praises Welsh Euro heroes
23 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Wales 31-30 Ireland
17 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Scotland 22-60 Wales
10 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Thomas scores in Wales debut loss
06 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Briers in line for Wales comeback
08 Sep 10 |  Rugby League


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