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Page last updated at 22:04 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

France v Wales as it happened

Result: France21-16 Wales

LATEST ACTION (all times GMT)
606: DEBATE
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By Mark Orlovac

2200: Right, I'm off to rest my hands in a bucket of water. What a way to start the third weekend, let's hope tomorrow matches it. Good luck, whoever you support. See you all soon.

2159: Great moment from the television coverage when Austin Healey says that after this result, the winner of Ireland and England will go on to win the Championship. All you can hear is the sound of former France hooker Rafael Ibanez laughing in the background.

"There were too many mistakes but you have to give France credit. At 13-3 up we should have been more clinical."
Wales coach Warren Gatland

"The Grand Slam is gone but the championship is still there. We are all pretty down now but there are two games to go."
Wales centre Tom Shanklin

"What a game of rugby. In the end France deserved it, much to my surprise. Wales hung in well considering they didn't see the ball for 50-odd minutes. They almost snatched it with next to no possession in the second half which says a lot about them and how they are playing. French back row was awesome, they really took the game to Wales."
madderz on 606

"Today we showed it's another French team, I hope we will continue like that until the end of the tournament."
Six Nations man-of-the-match Imanol Harinordoquy

2145: If there was such a thing as a mixer in rugby, then France are definitely back in it now. They are level on four points with Wales and Ireland - with the Irish taking on England on Saturday. There will be no Grand Slam for Wales now.

"I think Wales may have started to believe the hype. France also seem to have risen to the occasion though."
Diggy on the train trying to get home via text 81111

2142: Wild celebrations at the Stade de France. The players go on a lap of honour and they receive a standing ovation. Breathless stuff. There is now a debate in the office about whether that was better than the Ireland v France match in Dublin. It probably won't match that contest for quality but for drama and intensity, you can't get much better.

"Wales gave it all but tonight France were the better team."
Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies on BBC Two

FULL-TIME: France 21-16 Wales
The line-out goes long, bounces up and James Hook tries to collect. He knocks it on into French hands, the home side clear and the match is over.

80 mins: Another Wales line-out near the French line. This is it.

78 mins: It looks on for Wales as the ball is spread down the line. There are numbers outside but Henson goes alone and is hauled down. France force the turnover and can clear to touch. Henson's mistake could be crucial.

77 mins: Long line-out throw from Bennett to Martyn Williams and "The Nugget" is stopped just before the line. France are hanging on.

75 mins: Wonderful work from Martyn Williams on the floor to force a turnover for his side. Wales win a penalty and Hook leathers the ball into touch by the corner flag. Massive few minutes now.

73 mins: PENALTY France 21-16 Wales
Lee Byrne breaks down the right into French territory but Thierry Dusautoir brings him down with a wonderful tackle. France concede the penalty and James Hook steps up to kick the three points. This is going to be a grandstand finish. Parra is now off with Sebastien Tillous-Borde coming on.

"Lots of infringing on the floor by Wales. I thought they were wouldn't dream of slowing a game down. Where's the yellow card?"
Sotonpaul on 606

70 mins: PENALTY France 21-13 Wales
France are all over Wales and as the visitors desperately try and defend, Martyn Williams takes a French player out off the ball. Parra has another long penalty attempt and this time he nails it.

67 mins: Great break from Yannick Jauzion into the 22 and Wales scramble back. The Welsh defensive wall holds up and Francois Trinh-Duc is forced to go for a drop-goal - which he misses. James Hook comes on for Stephen Jones.

66 mins: There are groans at the Stade de France as Parra's kick comes off the post. Could the misses cost them? Dimitri Szarzewski comes off and Leicester's Benjamin Kayser is on.

64 mins: More wonderful defence from France. Wales are trying to make ground but the tackles are flying in with the support ferociously contesting the breakdown. Peel is caught in possession and concedes the penalty for holding on to the ball on the floor. Parra to kick.

"Wales are throwing it away. A good team playing badly against a poor team playing out of their skins. Mistake after mistake."
panchopuskas on 606

61 mins: Pressure, pressure. France's kicking game is impressive at the moment and world player of the year Shane Williams knocks on when trying to catch a high one. Wales cannot get out of their half at the moment.

"From an Irishman in the US, great recovery by France, rooting for France to win by one point.."
Tbf2006 on 606
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58 mins: France are dominating now and are not showing the effects of their Top 14 efforts last weekend. Shane Williams is forced to take the ball into touch in his 22 after a clever kick from Toulouse centre Yannick Jauzion.

57 mins: Dwayne Peel comes on for Mike Phillips to take over at scrum-half, while Huw Bennett replaces Matthew Rees at hooker. And Gavin Henson makes an eagerly awaited return in place of Jamie Roberts. None of the substitutions look enforced, so it's a tactical move from coach Warren Gatland. Meanwhile for France, Sebastien Chabal goes off to be replaced Romain Millo-Chluski in the second row.

53 mins: TRY France18-13 Wales
From Powell's charge, Phillips runs into hooker Matthew Rees and France get possession. The ball is spread from the scrum to the other wing and Cedric Heymans, who has very little room by the line, cuts inside to touch down. Martyn Williams does his best to hold him up but the video ref gives it. Parra's conversion comes back off the posts.

51 mins: Great work from Powell in his own 22 to collect a Medard kick and start a Wales counter.

50 mins: France are on the Welsh 22 but wonderful work from Martyn Williams on the floor to snaffle a loose ball ends the attack. The Lions number seven surely?

49 mins: More treatment for Gough after he takes a blow to the head from running into a French shoulder. France have a penalty and they go for touch. The crowd raise the volume.

"I must say that some of Wales' breakdown play has been absolutely exemplary, slowing everything down and affecting numerous turnovers."
NOTCH-The Fragile Dreams of an undivided Irish Nation...on 606

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48 mins: Parra misses a penalty attempt from near halfway after Wales are penalised for offside.

45 mins: Wales spill the ball on their own 40m line and France can now try and make something happen. The tackling is ferocious. France lock Sebastien Chabal slowly returns to the action after receiving treatment following a double-team tackle by Ryan Jones and Andy Powell. Wallop.

43 mins: Wales attack down the left wing through Shanklin but after he is tackled, both Shane Williams and Jamie Roberts go into the ruck off their feet.

42 mins: Wales clear from deep after Shane Williams collects deftly near the touchline. Francois Trinh-Duc, whose grandfather hails from Vietnam, is underneath it only to knock on. Poor mistake.

41 mins: Players are back out and we are under way. Hold on to your hats.

"On the last day of my skiing holiday in Lech Austria! Hitting refresh on my Blackberry as quickly as I can - gutted that I'm missing the game! Keep up the good work."
Elwyn via text on 81111

Love you, really I do

"13-13 on a Friday. Sounds unlucky."
Sam H via text on 81111

"Wales missed one tackle in the game. What happens? France score."
Former Wales captain Colin Charvis on BBC Two

"You must say, it's poor to let their number eight just walk through a gap like that, especially as we had pressure on that scrum. Still, good stuff by France, I'm gutted, makes for a knife-edge game as we enter half-time! Not happy we let him through that gap still though..."
Klesk2000 on 606
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HALF-TIME: France 13-13 Wales
What a half. Intense, brutal and utterly compelling. Test match rugby at the very highest level. Loving it.

40 mins: TRY France13-13 Wales
Interesting, very interesting. Imanol Harinordoquy picks up the ball from the back of a messy scrum, brushes off the tackle of Ryan Jones, and rampages through a gap in the Wales defence towards the try line. Lee Byrne is brave in defence to haul him down but the try is soon coming. Dimitri Szarzewski goes first before Thierry Dusautoir just manages to touch the ball on the line. The crowd goes wild. Parra converts.

39 mins: More treatment, this time for Wales lock Ian Gough. This really has been a brutal half and the players look shattered.

38 mins: Wales threaten again after Shanklin gets over the gain line. Andy Powell concedes a penalty though for coming into a ruck from the side and France can clear.

37 mins: Baby limps off after succumbing to a sore knee. It's a shame for the Clermont Auvergne centre - who has not done too badly at 10. Francois Trinh-Duc comes on to replace him.

35 mins: PENALTY France 6-13 Wales
Lovely strike from Parra, who slots over from near the touchline.

33 mins: France pressurise after a wonderful break from deep by full-back Maxime Medard. He gets over the Welsh 22 but the visiting forwards do their job and slow the ball down. However, France get a penalty when Shanklin does not roll away after making a tackle.

30 mins: Play concentrated in midfield at the mo. France win possession when Ryan Jones fails to release the ball after being tackled.

"Great try made by Shanklin, who shouldn't be on the pitch!"
Tighthead68 on 606

"Come on, type faster. I'm stuck on train hitting refresh on mobile internet, only means of knowing score. Surely you can do better than one message every four mins!?"
Pete S via text on 81111

25 mins: TRY France 3-13 Wales
If Lee Byrne does not make the Lions Test team I will eat my hat. Tom Shanklin makes the initial break, Wales flood the blind side and full-back Byrne cuts a wonderful line to carve his way through the France defence for the opening try. Brilliant. Jones converts.

21 mins: A Mike Phillips box kick does not travel as far as it should because it hits the television camera that is suspended above the pitch. I bet he couldn't do that if he tried.

"No yellow card and a definite try disallowed. The rugby gods are shining on Wales tonight."
Eirebilly on 606
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21 mins: Harinordoquy worms his way over the line but Halfpenny somehow gets under the ball to prevent him from touching it down. The decision goes upstairs and the answer is no. More whistles.

"That is not marginal contact - Shanklin should be in the bin."
Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies on BBC Two

19 mins: Tom Shanklin is a very, very lucky man. He gets away with a talking to after coming into "marginal contact" with France number eight Imanol Harinordoquy while the Biarritz man is in the air trying to collect a high ball. Should be a yellow. Whistles all round.

18 mins: Jamie Roberts gets a taste of his own medicine. The 17-stone Blues centre is absolutely cut in half by Mathieu Bastareaud. One word. Bang.

"Not sure about this Friday night game thing. Can't get home from work in time!"
Clarky on train via text on 81111

14 mins: A high Baby kick into the Wales 22 causes all sorts of problems. The fly-half is kicking from hand very well so far. France pressure the Welsh line, the ball goes down the line but centre Jamie Roberts puts in a thunderous hit on Cedric Heymans and the visitors win possession. Ouch and double ouch.

"Jauzion is key tonight. Don't expect Baby to take all the tactical kicks by any means. Runners inside and out, a big, big lad to thump it up the middle and a nine to whizz the ball into the midfield. If he (YJ) gets it wrong and the Welsh line speed is good (and let's face it, it will be) he's history and so are France. If he gets it right..."
2small2slow on 606
Join the debate

12 mins: France kick from deep and Wales wing Leigh Halfpenny spills it forward. Rare mistake from the 20-year-old Blues back.

9 mins: PENALTY France 3-6 Wales
The breakdown battle is absolutely brutal. Now France are pinged by referee Mark Lawrence and Jones slots it over.

"Trying to serve customers while frantically refreshing this page! Thank goodness for BBC."
Claire Bear, at work via 81111

5 mins: PENALTY France 3-3 Wales
Anything you can do...this time it's France's turn to have a go. We could have a classic here if the opening is anything to go by. The home side are battering their way up the middle rather than giving the ball some width. Wales concede at the breakdown and Parra slots over the kick to calm his nerves.

"Wales will employ the kicking game - but the one thing that is crucial is the chase will have to be very good. Against Ireland, France's counter-attacking was magnificent."
Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies on BBC Two

3 mins: PENALTY France 0-3 Wales
Bright, bright start for Wales. They spread the ball one way and then the next, France are offside and Jones slots over the penalty.

1 mins: Stephen Jones starts the game for Wales. France collect and fly-half Benoit Baby, who has played just 120 minutes at number 10 for his club this season, bombs it downfield.

"Stuck on the train to Edinburgh, with only a dodgy radio and a slow internet connection for news. I'm relying on you! Oh, and come on Wales!"
Rachael, somewhere in Fife via text on 81111

1956: Love those two anthems. Terfel was resplendent in a jacket made from a Welsh flag while the French anthem was sung by a guy who looks like he should be presenting Countdown.

1954: Anthem time.

1954: In the absence of the injured Lionel Beauxis, Morgan Parra will take the kicking duties. He has booted just eight points in the Top 14 this season. Hmmm.

1952: The French and Welsh teams make their way on to the field. The noise is deafening.

1947: There have been big differences in how the two sides have prepared for tonight. Wales have had a two-week break since the England game while the French Top 14 league programme was in full flight last weekend. Nine of Lievremont's squad featured in Sunday's crunch clash between Toulouse and Clermont. Could make a big difference.

"I reckon you should watch the match rather than typing all the way through it."
singingHannahJ on 606

I wish I could my friend, I wish I could

1941: Wales have not lost in the Six Nations since 10 March 2007, when they were defeated 23-20 by Italy in Rome. Victory tonight would see them equal England and France's record of nine consecutive Six Nations victories.

"The nine o'clock kick-off is a complete nightmare, with all that time to kill before the game."
Wales skipper Ryan Jones

"Hoping for a great game but that Wales win without making it too uncomfortable for me to watch."
strcprstskrzkrk on 606

"Shane Williams is the key for Wales to unlock this big French backline."
Former England back Austin Healey on BBC Two

"I was a proven leader on the field, but to be honest his selection policy is controversial. I did not know he was such a gambler. This competition is all about winning, tonight is a huge game for him."
Former France hooker Rafael Ibanez on BBC Two

1933: Here's a few more stats for you - to impress your mates like. The sides have met 85 times with Wales leading the series 43-39. There have been three draws. France's record win was a 51-0 success at Wembley in 1998, while Wales boast a best of 47-5 (Paris, 1909). Wales have won on three of their previous five visits to Stade de France, winning in 1999, 2001 and 2005, while France have won six of the last eight matches between the sides.

"This will be the test to show whether Wales have really made any progress or whether it's more hype-filled blip. Wales by five."
Andi in Bedford via text on 81111

1925: And to Wales. They are two-fifths of the way to collecting their second straight Grand Slam after collecting wins in Scotland and at home to England. I would argue that Wales learnt more from the hard-fought victory over the English than the cruise they enjoyed in Edinburgh. Dancing winger Shane Williams returns while Gavin Henson is back on the bench after his little 'night out'.
Rugby stars 'sorry' for night out

1919: BREAKING NEWS. Our brave Welsh cyclists (as well as our own marathon man Tom Fordyce) have reached the Stade de France after treking all the way from Cardiff. Top, top effort. I think you just might deserve a beer now.
Read Tom's blog

"Come on Wales! Chance to make Friday history and set up a very interesting end to the Six Nations (my wife's Irish)!"
Anon via text on 81111

1918: So to the game. In the blue corner we have France. Brilliant: yes. Mercurial: obviously. Unpredictable: you betcha. Led by Marc Lievremont, (a coach who makes Claudio Ranieri look like the standard bearer for selection stability) Les Bleus have lost to Ireland and defeated Scotland so far this year (and as a Scot I'm still bitter about that try). They have a centre playing at fly-half (a selection policy now commonly known as a 'Bergamasco'), no recognised goal kicker as well as their ninth half-back pairing in 13 Tests. No wonder they are regarded as underdogs.

1914: I've been looking forward to this tasty-looking encounter all week and I made a bold prediction when I walked into the office this afternoon. "This could be the game of the tournament," I announced confidently. With my history of predictions, that obviously means we're in line for a 9-6 kick-fest. Sorry about that.

"I just hope England supporters don't complain about the ref when Wales win."
jem707 on 606

1910: Great chat from the Stade de France. Apparently during rehearsals for the national anthems (the two best anthems in the Six Nations in my humble opinion) Welsh singer Bryn Terfel had a quiet word with the band as they were going too slow. I blame the drummer.

1906: There is plenty to chat about tonight, and I want to hear all about it. Your predictions (for tonight and the weekend), stories and bets are all welcome. I also want to know where you'll be to watch the game and what you think about the Friday night kick-off. Especially if you are one of the brave souls in the French capital who are now faced with a late metro run back into Paris. Let me know your thoughts by using 606 or by texting 81111, with the word RUGBYU preceding your prose. Go on, you know you want to.

1903: Hello you and welcome to a little bit of history - the first Four/Five/Six Nations match to be held on a Friday. Ever. And it's a pleasure to be bringing it to you. Here's a quick stat to get you going: Four/Five/Six Nations matches have taken place on every other day of the week except a Friday. Until now that is.

1900: What? Six Nations, on a Friday night? You are joking? Nah, it will never happen...



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see also
France 21-16 Wales
27 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
France surprise with Baby at 10
25 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Rugby's Friday night project
26 Feb 09 |  Wales
Sella fears Wales attacking flair
25 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales 23-15 England
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
France 22-13 Scotland
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 30-21 France
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union


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