81 minutes pass of a legendary match in Paris as France spends its last bullet on the Six nations. If he holds out, Wales will take full glory – tournament and Grand Slam, full of victories – but their happiness hangs over the cliff. The XV of the Rooster he charges and achieves superiority on the left, a three against one that Brice Dulin executes mercilessly. In a heartbeat, Wales’ perfect tournament is down the toilet and the trophy ceremony is postponed. France now has fate in their hands and can lift the title if they beat Scotland with a bonus point next Friday in the game postponed after their coronavirus outbreak.
The script drew from the beginning a duel of giants between the two best attacks of the tournament. France came out imposing, standing on the five-meter line with Dupont’s quick releases; the symphony began with a succession of eighth notes. And the Gauls took the lead in an action rehearsed from the band; simulated to form the platform of the maul, a decoy that misled the defense, before going into the open field and Romain Taofifenua took advantage of the superiority to rehearse. Perfect start for France: 7-0.
Wales was undaunted and immediately returned the right hand. It was delayed by France with a saving tackle from Charles Ollivon, placing his hand under the oval in what was a sure test by Gareth Davies that the referee did not concede after squeezing the replays on video. Only the XV of the Rooster; In the next sequence, Ollivon could not stop Dan Biggar’s incursion, which he accelerated before even seeing if the ball had come out to meet him and took advantage of his inertia to strike like a rocket. Categorical response from the Welsh.
The minute hand was only counted in units and the duel was already being played open-ended. France responded again with a house brand trial; Dulin’s kick to follow to meet the two demons –Jalibert and Diupont–, who came swiftly and made a new essay. Another right hand that would return Wales, back to the French 22 zone to equalize the contest with a percussion from the hairy Navidi. Twenty minutes of rugby to remember in the Wild West. After such a frenzy, both teams, accustomed to duels full of slides, took a breath and the game entered a valley phase and that’s how the intermission (17-17) came.
Wales came out of the locker room more settled against a France that needed to prepare a new assault. With no time to put it together, the locals found themselves against the ropes in another broken play. Kick to follow which George North came to kick again; the Tomos Williams bag to attend the final charge of Josh Adams. The wing maintained possession with great merit before a triple tackle, with Julien Marchand’s hand between the oval and the pitch. The decision on the field was a rehearsal and the television footage did not offer evidence to the contrary. This time the video smiled at Wales, who turned on gas and turned 10 up.
Quite an odyssey for France, who needed to win the game and one of these circumstances: do it by more than seven points or score four trials. Louis Rees-Zammit, the rising star of XV of the Dragon, was close to closing the contest, but his pose as a tightrope walker hit the corner flag before the grass. Centimeters from glory. There was no rehearsal, but the action ended in the yellow to Haouas. More trouble for the Gauls.
Against the ropes, France was at the height of the best classical literature and went with everything to the Welsh countryside. After an infinite attack, Bruce Dulin slalomed through the last curtain of Welsh defenders to rehearse and put the duel on the precipice. There was, of course, an unexpected twist. It was not rehearsal because Paul Willemse entered the ruck and hit an opponent in the eye area. The umpteenth video review ended in a red card.
Everything seemed doomed, but France did not give up and with their insistence converted a 13 against 15 into a 14 against 13 after two yellow cards to the increasingly undisciplined Welsh. The XV of the Dragon, exhausting the clock and the bullets of France, which ended up rehearsing with Ollivon with just three minutes to play. With everything ready for the Welsh title, the Six Nations had their penultimate script twist. The best battles that the great rugby classic has seen in years have been fought without an audience. The last one, next Friday in Paris.
In the other two games of the last day, Ireland clearly beat England in Dublin (32-18) and Scotland beat Italy (52-10), adding their sixth wooden spoon.