Frogs rule Europe
18 Mar 2006
France won the Six Nations title when they came from behind to beat Wales 21-16 in Cardiff on Saturday.
Ireland had to beat England by 34 points to claim the championship, but their victory was by just four points.
The England and Ireland match so nearly proved to be the tournament finale as it looked like France were going to lose in Cardiff.
South African-born centre Hal Luscombe’s try eight minutes before half-time gave the hosts a 13-6 lead, but France hit back with two second-half tries from hooker Dimitri Szarzewski and centre Florian Fritz to take a 18-16 lead with five minutes to go.
A penalty from Jean-Baptiste Elissalde made it 21-16.
Stephen Jones opened the scoring with a fifth-minute penalty, the French responded with a three pointer and Jones got three more on 26 minutes when Raphael Ibanez was sin-binned.
The Luscombe try and Jones conversion put Wales even further ahead at 13-3.
Then the French started to show some form, in particular flyhalf Frederic Michalak. He came close to scoring just before halftime, but his efforts earned his team a penalty and it was he who proved decisive in France’s comeback from 16-11.
Michalak’s perfectly weighted kick-through found Fritz and the big centre had no problems controlling the bounce of the ball and scoring the try.
A late penalty only added insult to what had been a powerful Welsh display.
Wales – Try: Hal Luscombe. Conversion: Stephen Jones. Penalties: Jones (2), Gavin Henson.
France – Tries: Dimitri Szarzewski and Florian Fritz. Conversion: Dimitri Yachvili. Penalties: Yachvili (2), Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.