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Six Nations as it happened - Wales 20-26 France

LATEST ACTION (all times GMT)

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By Tom Fordyce

2200: So there we go - France march on. We'll be back on the morrow, Benjamin Dirs on live comm duties. See you at Twickenham if you're down there. Bon chance and bonne nuit.

2156: Here's try-scorer Shane Williams: "A bit of déjà-vu the way we've started the last three games. It was very frustrating. You have to commend the guys for that come-back. The two interception tries didn't help us. We tried to play some rugby, but France made it very difficult for us. Once again, it was all catch-up in the second half.

Wales coach Warren Gatland on BBC One: "I am proud of our second half performance. Having been 20-0 down and the victims of our own intercepts, we went out, got some points and put France under pressure. We gave away a couple of stupid penalties at the end and missed a couple of chances or we could have got a lot closer."

2152: This from former Welsh skipper Colin Charvis on BBC 1: "As momentum swung you could see the French getting frustrated. The momentum was all with Wales. Unfortunately Michalak's boot took over, and it was a bridge too far."

2149: France do a lap of honour as the Welsh fans stream away. The home side will be kicking themselves - they only started playing when they were 20 points down, and even then they could have won it.

2146: Dear oh dear. Both teams great in patches, the difference all those Welsh errors. France now just a stroll past Italy and then home match with England on the final weekend from the Grand Slam.

FINAL SCORE: Wales 20-26 France Michalak with the kick straight into touch - it's all over...

79 mins: TRY S Williams Wales 18-26 Wonderful, wonderful try. Williams plays the advantage, dances round one man, then another, and then puts on the afterburners - brilliant finish. Stephen Jones with the extras - 20-26 - but time is nearly up...

77 mins: PEN Parra, Wales 13-26 Four Welsh defenders offside under their own posts, and Parra won't miss that. C'est tout. Fin.

74 mins: France going through the phases now, setting field position for Michalak - too far out for the dropper, and his effort hits the bottom of the upright. If Wales don't pull off a miracle here - and the momentum of 15 minutes ago has dissipated - they'll rue all those unforced mistakes.

72 mins: Another daft mistake from Wales, Huw Bennett not throwing in straight at the line-out. 21 errors now from the home side, and you can't win matches like that. Parra back on from the bin, and you fear the moment may have passed.

70 mins: PEN Michalak Wales 13-23 France Ah. Is the comeback about to be halted? Infringement in the ruck, penalty 35m out on the left - right down the middle. Silence in the Millennium Stadium. And then a chorus of "Allez les Bleus".

68 mins: Jamie Roberts sprints onto Jones's cunning kick - he's got Hook outside him, but he holds on, and the ball is knocked on. Big, big chance - France all over the shop, but Wales have to take one of these chances - believe it or not, the game is there for them...

67 mins: Lee Byrne has done it again - pen to touch, fails to find it. Got greedy and went too long.

66 mins: French scrum, five metres from their own line. Box-kick clear, Welsh line-out 30m out. Michalak on for Trinh-Duc, but Wales have lost the ball through Hook. Chabal on for Pierre.

64 mins: Morgan Parra was yellow-carded when all that was going on - France are down to 14 men, and they're in danger of going to pieces here. Remarkable.

Jonathan Davies
Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies on BBC One: "Not again, surely! Why do they do it?! The money ball comes from Shane Williams. A great try and a great conversion."

61 mins: TRY Halfpenny Wales 11-20 France You don't think... Finally some space out wide, a wonderful mis-pass from Shane and Halfpenny takes it at full lick, creaming over in the corner. Great try. Can Jones land this from the touchline? He can, you know - it's 13-20, 17 minutes on the clock...

59 mins: France have taken their foot off the gas, and they're even making a few errors. But Wales have given them such a head-start that they can afford to cruise.

56 mins: Dear oh dear - Byrne kicks a penalty to the corner, and he's kicked it dead. Schoolboy, and a criminal waste of territory and momentum.

55 mins: Strange kick from Trinh-Duc, and France are offside there. Byrne kicks deep to touch. Great take from Bradley Davies, having a fine game.

53 mins: Wayward pass from Hook again, and all the good work comes to an end.

51 mins: Szarzewski on for Servat. We'll have a Welsh line-out 24m out on the right.

48 mins: PEN S Jones Wales 6-20 France Wales pressure 30m out. The pick and go's don't seem to be taking them anywhere, but there's French hands where there shouldn't be, and Jones will have a chance to reduce the gap a little more - yup, straight down the middle. The lead cut to 14. You don't think...

46 mins: PEN S Jones Wales 3-20 France Offside from France, and Jones pops it over from bang in front. Wales on the board, and with it Jones becomes Wales' highest-ever championship points scorer.

44 mins: Oh, great chance - Shane puts a great little grubber through, Hook races onto it and hacks on - he picks up, men to beat, where's the support? Floated pass... ach, it's Charteris, and he spills a tricky take. Scrum France.

42 mins: And now a turnover. Oh dear.

41 mins: We're off again... straight into a Welsh knock-on. Wales need to score first to have any sniff.

Get involved on 606
TomosAntiguaTomos on 606: "France are thrashing them? Take away the silly interceptions and it's 6-0. Wales are self-destructing."

Twitter
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer on Twitter: "Game set+match at the Millennium, and its only HT. France lived up 2 their billing, Wales staring down barrell."


Jeremy Guscott
Former England centre Jeremy Guscott on BBC One: "Unforced errors are the most frustrating thing. They do cause heads to drop."


Jonathan Davies
Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies on BBC One: "Another poor 40 minutes by Wales. No penetration, too many mistakes, and two interceptions. The French have looked very comfortable."

40 mins: TRY Trinh-Duc, Wales 0-18 France Oh, the horror... Shane makes a half break down the left, looks for an off-load that isn't there and has his pocket picked by the free-running fly-half, who skates free down the line and under the posts. Easiest of conversions from Parra for 0-20, and Wales have literally thrown this match away. Can they come back from here? Miracles don't happen in successive games, surely...

38 mins: French line-out deep in Welsh territory. Basta bashes through - oof, dropped on. Escape.

34 mins: Great scrummaging from the French pack. Wales have the put-in deep in the opposition 22, but they're rumbled off the ball and France win the penalty to clear. Wales need something before the break, as much for their self-belief as for the scoreline.

31 mins: Parra drops the ball in his own 22 - he gets the kick away, but Wales will have the line-out. Dummy to Charteris, decent take, ball back out on the narrow side to Shane - oh, fine covering tackle from prop Mas. Looked like the winger was in there, but the big unit got across like a full-back.

29 mins: Four average kicks in succession, knock-on from Martin Williams. Sloppy. 11 errors from Wales so far.

26 mins: PEN Parra Wales 0-13 France Ooh, marginal call there from Kaplan, pinging Rees for going off his feet. Was he really? Parra doesn't care - another sweetly-struck kick, this time from 35m, and the lead stretches ominously.

24 mins: Remember Shaun Edwards' near-unbreakable blitz defence of two years ago? France have got one of their own. No space at all for the Welsh backs, and they're going nowhere here. Deiniol Jones off injured, replaced by Luke Charteris.

21 mins: Julien Bonnaire making a right mess of the Welsh line-out here, but the ball bobbles to Davies. Stephen Jones - oh, lovely return pass, and he's half through - with space running out, he puts the little kick through for Halfpenny to chase, but Jauzion gets across to cover. Better.

19 mins PEN Parra, Wales 0-10 France: Not a classic, so far. Martyn Williams is penalised for going off his feet after Bastareaud is taken down - eventually - by three men, and Parra lines up the three points from 45m out, left of the posts - super effort.

17 mins: Ryan Jones has taken a nasty smack on the head here. The scrum-cap is off, and he gets - ooof, knee to the head from Jauzion. Entirely accidental.

15 mins: Referee Jonathan Kaplan getting the hump with the two front rows here. Doesn't think they're waiting for his call. Fussy. Possibly.

13 mins: Decent Welsh possession again, but there's no room at all with this French blitz defence. Stephen Jones has the ball ripped off him, and it'll be a French scrum midway inside their own half.

11 mins: Let-off for Wales. France kick a penalty to touch in the corner, win the line-out and take play up the middle. Trinh-Duc has a great chance to pop over the dropper but slices horribly and misses right.

8 mins: The Millennium Stadium aghast at that error - Wales had started well, dominating territory and possession, but it's all for nothing. You don't want to give this French side les freebies...

6 mins: TRY Palisson, Wales 0-5 France Disaster for Wales, shocker for James Hook - a telegraphed pass in midfield is picked off with ease by winger Alexis Palisson, and he'll run clear for 40m to touch under the posts. Parra pops over the extras for 0-7.

4 mins: First sign of Bastareaud as James Hook dashes up and misses both man and ball - the ball is shipped out left to Palisson, but his kick is too far ahead and Shane will touch it down.

2 mins: Great drive from the Welsh forwards, and that's just the start they needed. Richie Rees has a dart, but there's an infringement at the ruck and France will kick clear.

1 min: Stephen Jones with the start, Parra with the kick to touch. We're off...

2002: Show me a better sight in sport than the Welsh national anthem, sung by a full stadium under the closed roof. Wonderful.

1959: Impeccable silence for Bradley Davies' mother. The lock looks up at the heavens and blinks away the tears. Thoughts with you, big lad.

1957: Here we go - and Ryan leads them out, to a wonderful reception.

1955: Here comes the French team - no sign of Wales and/or Ryan yet...

1951: Btw - before we start, there'll be a moment's silence for the mother of Bradley Davies, who passed away this week.


1947: Word just in from Warren Gatland - Ryan Jones will start. Tight calf all week, reckons he's good to start.

1943: Reasons to be cheerful for Wales: last time France did a lap of honour at the Stade de France, they were trounced in their next match, by England a year ago. Reasons to be cautious: they're a different team these days. And Marc Lievremont has stopped tinkering. And Parra and Trinh-Duc are the best half-back partnership in the northern hemisphere. And... I'll stop, shall I?

1940: Latest on Ryan Jones - he's out on the pitch warming up, but he's got a large ice-pack strapped to his left calf. Looks pretty miserable, but there's no definitive word...

1936:From majesticimperialman on 606: "I can't see anything other than France win tonight."



1932: You know that red button action I mentioned? It's all up above. Done deal.

1928: Don't want to panic you, Wales fans, but there are rumours rattling around that skipper Ryan Jones may have picked up a late calf injury. Would be a big blow, that. I'll keep you posted.

1924: Feeling rather fresher than I did at this point before the return fixture this time last year. Having left Cardiff on our bikes at 0730 the day before, and with 280 miles in our wakes, I'm not even sure we'd reached the Stade de France yet... The alternative Tour de France

1918: Let's have some stats: of the 86 matches between the two countries, Wales have won 43, France 40. Three draws. And Wales have lost six of the last eight meetings in the Six Nations. Hmmm.

From Ieuan on 606: "Wales have got to start brilliantly and get better throughout the game! Otherwise France will win comfortably.. If Wales do make a good start, they might rattle the French and sneak it."

BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer on twitter: "Our hotel foyer taken over by male voice choir. Bread of Heaven being belted out at mo. Fendigedydd."

1908: Quick heads-up: if you're waiting for the live TV coverage to start on BBC1 at 1955, that's fine - but you might want to know that there's live build-up from 1930 on the BBC HD Channel and via the red button. Inverdale at the helm. I'd watch it myself if I wasn't doing this.

1905: France charging for the Grand Slam, Wales looking to convince us that the Gatland revolution is still going strong. The visitors have come out on top in four of their last five visits to the Millennium Stadium, but we all know what happened last time they were here - seen off by Williams' Shane and Martyn as Wales sealed a Slam of their own. Tidy.

1900: Now then. Anyone fancy a prime slice of Friday night Six Nations ding-dong?



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see also
Wales 20-26 France
26 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Wales v France photos
26 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Wales question Bastareaud fitness
26 Feb 10 |  Welsh
Inside France's rugby heartland
25 Feb 10 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Back-row 'balance' excites Wales
26 Feb 10 |  Welsh
Phillips gives fitness assurance
25 Feb 10 |  Welsh
Lock Jones' shock Wales call-up
22 Feb 10 |  Welsh
France suffer double injury blow
24 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations table
10 Aug 06 |  Tables
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
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Rugby union on the BBC
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