International Roundup

It was a busy weekend of International rugby, which saw 5 Ospreys, 9 Ospreys Women and 3 Ospreys in U20s action

Wales came from absolutely nowhere to win in Paris and extend their unbeaten run to a record equalling 10 matches in the professional era as they triumphed 24-19 at Stade de France. Warren Gatland's side found themselves trailing 16-0 at half-time but overturned their lead within 22 minutes of the second half.

It took a mere six minutes for the French side to notch the first points of the 2019 championship and it came from one of their chief talismen, No 8 Louis Picamoles. Morgan Parra struggled with the conversion and failed minutes later with a penalty attempt to extend the French sides lead.

Gareth Anscombe also missed with two long-range penalty shots and the TO also ruled out what looked like a try form the impressive Liam Williams.

Worse was to follow six minutes later when a weaving run on the right wing by Damien Penaud pave the way for a second French try that was finished in the other corner by his fellow wing Yoann Huget.

The scoreboard kept ticking over for the home side and a Lopez penalty was followed with a drop goal with the last kick of the half. That made it 16-0 to Les Blues at the break and it looked as though there would be only one winner.

But a few choice words from Gatland in the dressing rooms had an amazing impact.

A brilliant break by Josh Adams I the second half opened up the French defence and, after racing up to the home 22, he found Tomos Williams in support on his right. The Cardiff Blues scrum half reached the line and Anscombe added the extras.

The fightback was on and it gathered pace when George North faithfully chased an innocuous grub kick into the home 22 by Hadleigh Parkes. Huget looked to have it covered, but then lost the ball on his line and North arrived to pick his pocket and make it two tries in five minutes. Anscombe adding the conversion to narrow the gap to only two points.

A change of half-backs brought a change in fortunes and Dan Biggar kicked a superb 45 metre penalty to actually give Wales the lead in the 62nd minute.

They kept their noses in front until 10 minutes to go when their scrum went down in front of their own posts and Lopez kicked the goal, but moments later a horrible floated pass by Romain Ntamck was gleefully picked off in mid air by North, but raced 50 metres to the posts for his second try. Biggar kicking the conversion to give Wales the win.


Wales Women

Wales Women were put to the sword in Montpellier by last season's Grand Slammers as they conceded nine tries in a 52-3 defeat. It was always going to be a tough night at the office for Carys Phillips' side, but their task wasn't helped by travel plans that were ruined by the adverse weather and meant they had to fly on the morning of the match.

The champions were quickly into their stride and got off the mark with the first of a hat-trick of tries from hooker Caroline Thomas from a driving line-out that followed two power scrums.

That lead gradually grew as the pressure mounted. Outside half Camille Imart landed a penalty and then the bonus-point was secured before the break with further tries from lock N'Diaye, Thomas again and left wing Lea Murie.

Wales only points in a first-half played totally on the back foot came from a 14th minute penalty from outside half Robyn Wilkins after a great kick-chase from Jazz Joyce and a superb jackal by tight-head prop Amy Evans.

The points continued to flow in the second half for the free-flowing French, who had the stars of the show at No 8 and scrum half in Romane Menager and Pauline Bourdon. Menager scored twice in the space of 11 minutes at the start of the second half before Thomas completed her hat-trick.

The rout was completed by a cruel interception try from replacement wing Doriane Constanty as she picked off a Wilkins pass five metres from the French line and then Murie bagged her second try of the night on the stroke of time.

There was no doubting Wales' commitment throughout the side and some particularly brave performances, with Olympian Joyce the pick of the bunch along with locks Siwan Lillicrap and Mel Clay.


Wales U20s

The young Welsh side went toe-to-toe with the French world champions and rocked them with a great first-half performance in Vannes. But last year's Six Nations and World Rugby Junior Championship winners scored four tries in the end to pick up a bonus-point win as they triumphed 32-10.

Home outside half Louis Carbonel, the top scorer at last year's World Cup, kicked an early penalty, but Wales responded with a brilliant try from replacement centre Joe Roberts, who came on after only four minutes when Tom Hoppe took a head knock in a tackle.

A solid scrum gave Wales the chance to attack for the first time and after first moving the ball to the right, they pulled it back to the left and a great pass from Cai Evans gave Roberts to pin back his ears and outflank hooker Rayne Barka to score from 25 metres.

Evans added the conversion and also went on to kick a 40 metre penalty. The French response saw them edge into 17-10 interval lead thanks to tries from flanker Sacha Zegueur and wing Matthis Lebel, both of which Carbonel converted.

The Lebel try came on the stroke of half-time and the French followed that up with a third try eight minutes after the re-start when giant lock Killian Geraci barged over. Carbonel added a penalty 10 minutes later, but they had to wait until the final move of the game before securing the bonus-point when right wing Vincent Pinto was sent racing 40 metres up the right touchline to score a try that Carbonel improved.

The French had to play the final few minutes without Zegueur. The flanker received a red card from Scottish referee Ben Blain for his part in a double tackle on Wales replacement hooker Will Griffiths that saw the ball carrier hoisted in the air and dumped on his neck.