Wales’ Fightback Gives Hope After France Prove Too Strong In Grenoble

Romane MENAGER of France celebrates her try during the TikTok Women's Six Nations match between France and Wales on April 23, 2023 in Grenoble, France. (Photo by Christophe Saidi/FEP/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Wales’ Fightback Gives Hope After France Prove Too Strong In Grenoble

By David Parsons

Two second half tries gave Hannah Jones’ Welsh side something positive to cling to at the end of their 39-14 defeat to France in the fourth round of matches in the TikTok Six Nations in Grenoble.

Seeking a first win over the French since 2016, Wales had hoped to make a fast start, but instead found themselves trailing 29-0 at the break and then 34-0 early in the second half as the home side, roared on by a 20,000 crowd at Stade des Alpes, took another step towards their Grand Slam shoot-out with England at Twickenham this weekend.

France capitalised on an early knock-on by Wales to set up the scrum in the Welsh 22 and that led to the first try from No 8 Romane Ménager, who crashed over for a try that Jessy Trémoulière converted.

Moments later Trémoulière opted for the sticks to extend France’s lead 10-0 with a penalty. The home outside half then used a chip kick to set up Gaelle Hermet for a run to the line wide out for the second try.

It was not how Wales, who had done so well in the opening 30 minutes against England in Cardiff last week, had wanted to start and things got worse for the visitors when No 8 Sioned Harries picked up a yellow card.

Despite being a player down, Wales enjoyed their best moment in the match when a strong carry from Sisilia Tuipulotu took her side into the French 22. But just when they looked like breaching the home gain-line, Wales were turned-over and a stunning counter-attack saw Melissande Llorens notch the French try.

The wing then picked up her second try moments later after a sweet offload from Gabrielle Vernier put her over in the corner for the bonus-point try on the stroke of half-time.

Wales faced an uphill battle coming out for the second half and France weren’t making it easy for them. A sublime piece of play from the home side sent Charlotte Escudero over the line for their fifth try of the game to go 34-0 ahead.

It was now a test of the Welsh character, and they didn’t throw in the towel. Instead, they galvanised themselves, put up a real fight and after a huge passage of play Georgia Evans powered over from close range. Elinor Snowsill added the extras on the day she won her 75th cap.

Wales powered their way back into the French 22, and another solid effort from the pack sent Gwenllian Pyrs over for try number two next to the posts to put Wales into double figures. Snowsill kicked the conversion.

The visitors showed massive heart throughout the second half and kept France on the back foot right up until the final whistle, but there was still time for one final burst from the fleet of foot French with Rose Bernadou scoring their sixth try to extend their unbeaten run in the championship to four games.

Wales remain in third place in the table and will now head to Italy, who were beaten in Scotland at the weekend, for their final assignment.

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