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How Wales have fared against France since their 2011 World Cup heartbreak

France edged to a 9-8 win in Auckland eight years ago.

Wales suffered an agonising 9-8 loss to France in the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final (David Davies/PA)
Wales suffered an agonising 9-8 loss to France in the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final (David Davies/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Wales will be hoping to avenge their 2011 World Cup semi-final defeat to France when they square off in a last-eight clash on Sunday.

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France edged to a 9-8 win in Auckland eight years ago as captain Sam Warburton was sent off in an agonising end to Wales’ tournament.

They look well placed to come out on top this time around, however, having won seven of the eight meetings between the two sides since.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the recent history between Wales and France.

Warburton red costs Wales

Sam Warburton was sent off for a tip tackle (David Davies/PA)

Warren Gatland’s men were full of confidence ahead of the semi-final in 2011 having put in a dominant display to beat Ireland in the previous round.

But captain Warburton’s red card after just 18 minutes for a tip tackle left Wales with a mountain to climb and, despite a second-half try from Mike Phillips, they were beaten by a single point as Stephen Jones’ missed conversion proved costly.

France failed to notch a try despite their numerical advantage, with Morgan Parra contributing all of their points from penalties to deny Wales a first final appearance.

It is a defeat that Wales have admitted adds extra motivation to Sunday’s clash against Les Blues.

Wales respond with five successive wins

Wales responded to World Cup defeat with five wins in a row against France (David Davies/PA)

The two sides met in the Six Nations in Cardiff the following March and Wales secured a 16-9 win as France again failed to score a try.

In fact, that run extended to four successive matches as Wales’ defence remained watertight in dominant wins in Paris and Cardiff.

Their growing dominance over France continued with Six Nations wins in 2015 and 2016 to make it five victories in a row over Les Bleus since that disappointing night in Auckland.

Controversial late win for France

France players celebrate Camille Lopez’s last minute conversion (David Davies/PA)

France ended their losing run as Damien Chouly forced his way over for a match-winning try with the clock nearing 100 minutes at the Stade de France.

Wales’ Samson Lee was sin-binned after 82 minutes before there was a claim of biting against George North, which was not proven, and controversy as France replaced Uini Atonio with Rabah Slimani – who had earlier been substituted – claiming he needed a head injury assessment.

France’s long added-time barrage on the Wales line eventually paid off as Chouly crossed and Camille Lopez converted to seal a 20-18 win.

France collapse as Wales begin Grand Slam campaign

George North (left) capitalised on France errors to seal the first win of the grand slam campaign (David Davies/PA)

France’s improved performances against Wales continued as they were beaten by just a single point in Cardiff in 2018.

And in this year’s Six Nations opener Les Bleus impressed again with a blistering first-half performance in Paris to storm to a 16-0 half-time lead.

But the magic France showed in the first period turned to an error-strewn display in the second as a fumble from Yoann Huget and an intercepted pass from Sebastien Vahaamahina helped Wales to a dramatic 24-19 comeback win.

It was a victory that set Wales on the path to their grand slam success and they will be full of confidence ahead of only their second World Cup meeting with France.

Having topped their pool, including a statement win over Australia, Wales are perfectly placed to get the better of France this time around.



From Belfast Telegraph