Home » Wales Women stun France

Wales Women stun France

National Anthems: Wales and France Women line up
National Anthems: Wales and France Women line up
National Anthems: Wales and France Women line up

Wales Women 10

France Women 8

WALES WOMEN ended France Women’s hopes of a Six Nations Grand Slam with a shock 10-8 victory at the Gnoll and secured qualification for next year’s World Cup in the process.

France entered the game as firm favourites but heroic defence from Rachel Taylor, who led from the front, and her team set up a memorable victory against Les Bleus.

Wales raced out of the blocks with full back Dyddgu Hywel ploughing over in the corner after fending off French defenders at will in the fifth minute.

However things looked ominous for Wales with the big French pack using the rolling maul to good effect. When powerful No 8 Safi N’Diaye drove over from close range the French would have expected to use it as a launching pad to increase their lead but the Wales defence held firm until half time.

Five minutes after the break France took the lead through an Audrey Abadie penalty. With the wind behind them, France threw everything at Wales but the home defence stood firm and soaked up all the pressure.

Against the run of play, prop Megan York finished off an outstanding Welsh move in the 58th minute to send the Gnoll crowd out of their seats. The move was initially set up after replacement prop Amy Evans rocked back a French ball carrier with a bone jarring tackle.

Lifted instantly, Wales reclaimed possession and moved downfield with winger Bethan Dainton tearing the French defence to shreds. Wales quickly recycled the ball and worked York over in the corner to put Wales back in front 10-8.

Despite possessing a dominant scrum France were unable to break through the Welsh rear guard where the entire pack tackled themselves to a standstill. Veteran prop Catrin Edwards assisted Taylor with countless tackles and bursts from rucks to relieve pressure with Sioned Harries also showing up well.

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France continued to batter away but Wales refused to buckle and for once their heroic defence paved a way towards a rare victory against the previously unbeaten French side.

Victorious skipper Rachel Taylor paid tribute to her squad, saying it was a team effort that secured the win.

“The magnitude of this win probably won’t sink in for a couple of days,” she said. “We knew they are a physical side, we knew they would come and try and beat us up front but I’m massively proud of the girls’ effort.

“We knew what to expect, they try and bully you and beat you up around the park, we knew it was coming and just had to front up and compete. The first five minutes showed we were here to party – I couldn’t be prouder.

“We’ll now go and face England very confident – why wouldn’t you after beating France?”