A stunning second half comeback from Wales helped them beat France 25-13 and ensured that they finished their Under-18 Six Nations Festival campaign unbeaten, following this exiting game at Temple Hill on Tuesday.
2008 UNDER-18 SIX NATIONS FESTIVAL: Tuesday, April 1
WALES UNDER-18S 25 FRANCE UNDER-18S 13, Temple Hill
Scorers: Wales: Tries: Scott Williams, Tom Crandon, Adam Hughes; Cons: Matthew Jarvis 2; Pens: Matthew Jarvis 2
France: Try: Julien Petrod; Con: Amaury Geneste; Pens: Amaury Geneste 2
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Wales trailed 13-5 at the break but came out firing in the second half to stop France in their tracks and pick off some excellent scores as they ran out convincing winners in the end.
Simon King, the Welsh head coach, said he was proud of what his side had achieved. “It was a difficult first half for us because France played very well and worked the elements to their advantage because there was quite a stiff wind there. We told them to keep their heads and I thought they showed fantastic maturity to go out there and score some good points and in the end it was comfortable for us.”
France, who leave Cork having lost all of their games at the Festival, got off to a strong start. Out-half Amaury Geneste kicked two early penalties as he made the most of a strong breeze.
France were well organised and their attacking caused problems for the Welsh defence and Julien Petrod furthered the French advantage when he dived over to score a try which Geneste converted for a 13-0 score-line.
Wales though made sure they did not slip too far behind when Scott Williams skipped through the centre to score a try just before half-time.
That score gave Wales the belief they needed going into a hard-fought second half. When out-half Matthew Jarvis, who has been in fine form at this Festival, added two penalties after the restart, their revival began as they looked to attack with every opportunity.
Two tries killed France off when Tom Crandon and Adam Hughes got on the end of some stylish phases of play and with Jenkins kicking the extras, it ensured that Wales go home with a perfect record.
WALES U-18: James Loxton (Blues); Adam Hughes (Dragons), Ashley Beck (Ospreys), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Ieuan Coombes (Dragons); Matthew Jarvis (Ospreys), Rhys Downes (Blues); Daniel Watchurst (Dragons), Rhys Williams (Blues) (capt), Simon Gardiner (Scarlets), Lloyd Peers (Ospreys), Tom Crandon (Dragons), Rhys Jenkins (Dragons), James Davies (Scarlets), James Thomas (Dragons).
Replacements used: Stewart Maguire (Dragons) for Gardiner (55 mins), Morgan Allan (Dragons) for J Davies (60), Gareth Jenkins (Scarlets) for Watchurst (68), James King (Scarlets) for Crandon (70).
FRANCE U-18: Julienne Cabannes (Mont de Marsan); Lucas DuPoint (Grenoble), Camille Canivet (La Rochelle), Adrien Domec (Biarritz), Sonny Falconetti (Toulon); Amaury Geneste (Begles), Teddy Iribaren (Toulouse); David Tarroque (Toulouse), Mickael Ivaldi (Toulon) (capt), Paul Oliver (Beziers), Sebastian Mazet (Bourgoin), Joris Archimbeau (Montpellier), Adrein Gach (Begles), Gilles Arnaudies (Perpignan), Julien Petrod (Bourgoin).
Replacements used: Anthony Maury (Montferrand) for Tarroque (32 mins), Adrien Alazard (Toulouse) for Mazet, Kevin Legeun (Begles) for Ivaldi (both 35), Clement Baldy (La Reunion) for Domec (55), Victor Muret (Bourgoin) for Gach (60).