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Last Updated:  Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 14:41 GMT
France complete Wales whitewash
Colin Charvis in action in Paris
Charvis is dragged down by the France defence
France 33-5 Wales

Wales were condemned to their first Six Nations whitewash after being outclassed by Bernard Laporte's side in the Stade de France.

The men in red had a bright opening 20 minutes and took the lead with a superb Gareth Thomas try.

But the French forwards gradually gained the upper hand, allowing scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili to direct the show and kick 18 points.

Thomas Castaignede, Vincent Clerc and Frederic Michalak ran in tries for the home side as they secured their first win over Wales at the stadium, and handed the visitors their first wooden spoon in eight years.

Wales tore into the French in the first 20 minutes, showing the confidence garnered from their undefeated record in two previous games at the Stade de France.

Match details:
Tries: T Castaignede, V Clerc, F Michalak
Cons: D Yachvili (3)
Pens: Yachvili (4)
Try: G Thomas
A France knock on in the third minute was run back from deep in Wales' half, Craig Morgan and Iestyn Harris combining well on the left.

Colin Charvis drove on from quick recycled ball and the ball was spun out for Thomas to convert the overlap on the right, Stephen Jones sending the conversion wide.

Wales were inches away from adding a second try in the sixth minute, Morgan catching opposite number Aurelien Rougerie sleeping following a Stephen Jones kick, outsprinting him, but failing to ground the ball.

I always had doubts whether we could get up physically two weeks in a row, we don't have that intensity
Wales coach Steve Hansen
It took until the second quarter for the French to settle, but then the visitors' line-out woes creeped back into their game and Gethin Jenkins came under presure on the tighthead of the scrum, gifting Bernard Laporte's side territory and possession.

Welsh tackling was heroic, but the constant pressure had to tell. From a forward drive in the 27th minute the ball was sent back to Castaignede and the Saracens centre cut back on the angle to score under the posts, Yachvili converting.

The young scrum-half added a penalty, but Jones missed his third kick of the half to leave the score 10-5 at the break, much to the displeasure of the expectant home crowd.

France exploded out of the blocks in the second period, a Xavier Garbajosa break taking them to the Welsh line.

Borderline defence that toyed with the sin bin and a Raphael Ibanez knock-on restricted the home team to just another Yachvili penalty.

Everybody in the team had something to aim for - a place on the plane to Sydney for the World Cup
France hooker Raphael Ibanez
Five minutes later another French forward drive led to recycled ball being spun slickly through the backs, reaching Vincent Clerc whose nifty footwork saw him over on the right for a converted try.

Yachvili added another penalty before Colin Charvis was sin binned n the 65th minute for coming in from the side of a ruck.

The French forwards seized the chance to drive into 14-man Wales before delivering a try on a plate to fly-half Frederic Michalak.

France coasted for the final 15 minutes, looking as they have through much of this Six Nations - barely out of first gear as they ease towards the World Cup.

Their pragmatic approach yielded a late penalty in front of the posts by Yachvili, leaving the crowd baying for more tries.


France: C Poitrenaud (Stade Toulousain); A Rougerie (Montferrand), T Castaignede (Saracens), D Traille (Pau), X Garbajosa (Stade Toulousain); F Michalak (Stade Toulousain), D Yachvili (Biarritz); J-J Crenca (Agen), R Ibanez (Castres), S Marconnet (Stade Franšais), F Pelous (Stade Toulousain, capt), O Brouzet (Montferrand), S Betsen (Biarritz), O Magne (Montferrand), I Harinordoquy (Pau).
Reps: J-B Rue (Agen), O Milloud (Bourgoin), D Auradou (Stade Franšais), P Tabacco (Stade Franšais), J-B Elissalde (Stade Toulousain), G Merceron (Montferrand), V Clerc (Stade Toulousain).

Wales: R Williams (Cardiff); C Morgan (Cardiff), M Taylor (Swansea), I Harris (Cardiff), G Thomas (Bridgend); S Jones (Llanelli), D Peel (Llanelli); I Thomas (Llanelli), M Davies (Pontypridd), G Jenkins (Pontypridd), R Sidoli (Pontypridd), G Llewellyn (Neath), C Charvis (Swansea), M Williams (Cardiff, capt), D Jones (Llanelli).
Reps: M Madden (Llanelli), S Williams (Northampton), G Thomas (Bath), G Cooper (Bath), M Watkins (Llanelli), G Williams (Bridgend), T Shanklin (Saracens).

Ref: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

Wales captain Martyn Williams
"We need patience to see the side grow"

France hooker Raphael Ibanez
"We kept working hard"

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