After Wales made it late to see off France and seal a Rugby World Cup location with a victory in Oita we consider the talking points.
France scored first-half tries through Sebastien Vahaamahina, Charles Ollivon and Virimi Vakatawa, however lost Vahaamahina to some second-half red card after a crass elbow into the head of Wales Aaron Wainwright, enabling Warren Gatlands side back in the Test and to maintain it with time exercising.
This is exactly what stood out after a eventful Sunday about Japans south east west Island…
Just 1 place to get started. This Rugby World Cup Test turned to the action of one man. In reality, it turned out on the motion of a single mans elbow.
France, for nearly 50 minutes, were magnificent. They won the flashes in contact, dominating in the attack, making penetrating offloads and beating Welsh defenders.
They scored three tries; they ought to have been from sight. The half-time stats made for utterly notable studying: 91 conveys to Wales 44, a monstrous 334 metres created to Wales several 26 gain-line victories, 134 and 12 offloads.
Confidence is high and when tails are up any France side in history is difficult to contain. But when its one which possesses its nigh on impossible to quell them. They have been dividing and slicing through Wales always, and doing this with some rugby.
Five minutes by the end of the half, France butchered a opening. Having got to within metres of this try-line through Vakatawa together with Wales down to 14 (Ross Moriarty was at the sin-bin), Les Bleus gorgeous free-flowing drama turned a bit rushed at the crucial moment as Romain Ntamack along with Maxime Medard perhaps threw offloads they should not have, seeing the ball turned over.
Still there was time to get Ntamack and Gael Fickou to combine to get a break producing a punishment that co and skipper Guilhem Guirado decided to kick. Ntamack hit at a game as tight as the last scoreline indicates, absolutely every opportunity that was missed mattered, and the pole.
A nine point half-time direct, while healthy, appeared paltry from the circumstances.
There was no stopping the men in blue, but who began the stage also. Turning down a possible shot at goal for a kick into the corner was yet another signal of their confidence at the present time.
It is where everything changed. Backs up Damian Penaud, Fickou and Medard added to A complete compliment in the lineout to make a nicely set maul that was edging .
Scrum-half Antoine Dupont seemed set to dart and had hands around the ball – he did above and so the try-line finally, but after the referees whistle. Referee Jaco Peyper initially suggested a punishment because of a grasp of the throat fromFrance five, with received communicating from one of his assistants.
The action from the No 5, Vahaamahina happens on 47:25, when Biggar kicks the punishment to 25, but drama resumes. It is not until the episode is replayed on the big screens in full glare of the thousands watching – and referee Peyper – which its referred upstairs.
The pictures reveal Vahaamahina having caught Wainwright across the neck, the Welshman remonstrating to the referee in reaction, then in a fit of frustration at Wainwrights allure and in crazy ignorance to the truth that hed never really be able get away with this kind of act, Vahaamahina savagely thrusts back a vicious elbow into the side of the undercover Wainwrights head.
It takes just one look after a formal TMO review for Peyper to statered to both assistants. The first sending off at a World Cup playoff match since 2011, and surely the simplest of them all.
At a stroke of apology, that 2011 decision was from a Test between both of these nations: Sam Warburtons infamous semi-final red card. But that in Oita, was arguably worse.
Back in 2011, however Wales were favourites, the match was at an earlier stage and still quite tight. The Test was over before the rash intervention of Vahaamahina.
It was a point of debate throughout half-time concerning whether Frances inability to score points when on top or have a lead that is larger would come back to hurt them. Although nobody expected it to have emanated from a act of harm that is self-induced it did.
Despite facing 14, not only should Warren Gatlands side have been blown completely out of the semi-final by half-time they nearly exited anyway.
Wales lethargic were cluttered and got squeezed right into a contest the like of which they never went to succeed in. The red card shifted that, but Wales failed to carry out.
Despite control of the game falling into their laps through no desirable play with their own, Wales continued to kick professionally and professionally, to knock-on the ball in threatening places and to give away economical turnovers.
They muddled through 10 minutes following the red card by scoring one punishment but constructing next to nothing later. With 15 minutes to go, Wales subsequently made a wreck of a chance that seemed more challenging to garner zero points from than to convert as George North failed to get a pass away to some four-man overload – a seemingly certain effort vanished.
Wales appeared to maneuver up gold territory with replacement tighthead prop Dillon Lewis knocking-on whilst on the deck at the shadow of the articles, In the seconds earlier Ross Moriarty notched the attempt.
The shortage of ruthlessness, of a winning mindset, of a clinical nature was baffling from Wales. Blood has been there to be smelt, however their noses turned away, not able to take advantage.
The players themselves will know they had been lucky to claim victory. Plaudits should be trimmed at that, although they should be applauded for not giving up or losing hope.
It was as bad a functionality as Wales have put in for two years. Do again Sunday against South Africa in their World Cup semi-final, and they will certainly be outside.
For most, such a result will be yet another instance of self-combustion that is French, in the inconsistent character on the athletic area.
Really, it is that they allow a 16-0 half-time lead to Paris slip away against this Wales outfit, cutting down Gatlands charges and with been cruising.
Back then, France did implode courtesy of massive individual errors from Yoann Huget and Vahaamahina (remember him?) Gifting two tries to Wales wing North.
On Sunday, aside from one ludicrous minute of rank self-abandonment from one person – the like of which can not be legislated for by anybody – France showed fight to dig and nearly pull off a remarkable victory.
This was not another example of arrogance superseding attempt or will, of France downing gear. It was not ego coming ahead industry and hard work.
Les Bleus gave everything and were still creating chances when down to 14. A Vakatawa break and offload simply failed to come off for Penaud, just before the hour mark. With 10 minutes of this Test remaining, France had Wales where they wanted them with a five-metre scrum under the Welsh articles, but only lost control in the rear part of their seven-man drive – the ball agonisingly squirming through Duponts legs and into Wales clutches.
This result and this night will be difficult for all these France players to have over. It is, without question. And yet, that , should never have been permitted to.
It will not be felt by them for some time, or today, however this France staff is building something. Its core of young springs, and forwards are doused with potential.
Wing Penaud verged slaloming through Welsh tops, offloading perfectly out of touch, creating tries, promising balls, engendering breaks. His performance was a true takeaway.
Fickous ability to split the gain-line, dominate his prospective tackler and combine it with his own offloading skill have marked him out in Japan too – hes been among the actors of this tournament.
Vakatawa matches the mould of this branch that was back: strong hands and rapid feet, also has discovered his France function at 13. Dupont, Huget, Ntamack and Medard all had moments also.
They are a match for anyone if France play as they did with a compliment. And on a day of disappointment for a lot of, there ought to be a little optimism and a degree of expectation.