France 18 Wales 24 – Loyal fans get just reward

An amazing match of 2 very different halves. During the first half Wales were not in the match. The French were totally dominant in all phases whilst the Welsh were insecure on their own ball and missing tackles all over the place.

However, the tremendous Welsh supporters kept the spirit of the welsh team going and at 15 – 3 down Stephen Jones kicked a penalty just before half time to make the score a much more comfortable 15 – 6. This must have encouraged the Welsh players at half time and whatever coach Mike Ruddock said at the interval, it worked! The Welsh team was a totally different one in the 2nd half. Their tackling improved and they stopped turning over ball. Crucially Wales got the first score of the half by Martyn Williams after a wonderful break out of defence by Stephen Jones. Martyn Williams scored, his second and Wales had scored twice within 5 minutes and suddenly, unbelievably, Wales were in the lead!

The French came back strongly but Stephen Jones dropped a good goal to make it 24 -18. Could Wales hold out? The last 10 minutes were incredibly exciting and France had 3 consecutive scrums on the Welsh line. The 80 minutes were up on the stadium clock and the Welsh crowd were desperate for the referee to blow the final whistle. Stephen Jones kicked the ball dead over his own goal line and for a moment it seemed that the referee was still not going to finish the game. Eventually he did blow up for full time and the Welsh players and spectators went berserk.

The loyal welsh fans had at last got their just reward – a great win against a good French side in Paris.

The crowd was huge trying to get back into Paris on the train, but nobody seemed to worry too much and celebrating more was on everyone’s minds – even the French were very sporting in their defeat!

JPR Williams

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