Sharp-shooter Ramos marshals France to 45-24 Six Nations win over Wales

France’s wing Damian Penaud makes a break during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Wales and France at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on March 10, 2024. AFP

Thomas Ramos kicked 20 points to extend France’s Six Nations win streak over winless Wales to five with a gripping bonus-point 45-24 victory in Cardiff on Sunday.

Five tries from Gael Fickou, man-of-the-match Nolann Le Garrec, George-Henri Colombe, Romain Taofifenua and Maxime Lucu ensured the French a second victory in the tournament and third place in the table.

The result consigned Wales, who scored three tries through Rio Dyer, Tomos Williams and Joe Roberts, to a 13th defeat in their last 15 Six Nations matches.

It also sets up Wales for a wooden spoon decider against Italy next week, with the Welsh staring at five defeats in the Six Nations for first time since 2003.

“It’s special in this stadium. We did not give up many easy points,” said France coach Fabien Galthie.

“We have to experience difficult and happy moments the same. We showed resilience. Today was about getting really engaged and not letting go. So I say ‘bravo’ to the players. They did the job. Now we focus on England and getting the runners-up spot hopefully.”

Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins said his team “felt like the French would fatigue later on with their big pack. It didn’t go to plan but we’ll look at it and come back next week”.

“We were excited about the physical battle but we definitely came off second best. Next week is massive for us because we don’t want to finish bottom.

“Italy have won here before so we’re not going to take them for granted but we’ve got to reflect on this game and see how we can be better.”

Wales could not have asked for a better start to what turned out to be a helter-skelter first 40 minutes, France penalised as Tommy Reffell went for the turnover and Sam Costelow making no mistake for the opening three points after just 90 seconds.

France came firing back, Le Garrec and Ramos, playing at 10 rather than his usual full-back position, utilising the raw power of Uini Atonio and Emmanuel Meafou to devastating effect.

Wales strayed offside and Ramos drew the scores level from in front of the posts.

Then out of nothing, Dyer sliced through the French defence for an opportunistic try, converted by Costelow.


Ramos booted a second penalty for the visitors after the Welsh scrum popped up before Fickou easily rode a Costelow tackle to finish off some slick recycled ball for a try in the corner to hand France the lead.

Ramos converted, but the topsy-turvy nature of the game once again exploded as Owen Watkin exploited a chink in the French armour and found Tomos Williams on his inside, the scrum-half going over for Wales’ second try, converted by Costelow.

Williams’ counterpart Le Garrec swung the momentum back the way of France as he darted over from short range after a Fickou charge, Ramos converting to make it 20-17 at half-time of a match that would have left the two teams’ respective defence coaches seething.

Any thoughts of France utilising their superior forward power to put a lid on the game early in the second period were dispelled when Roberts, chosen ahead of the vastly-experienced centre George North, wrestled his way over for a the home side’s third try after a a smart Williams break.

Costelow converted to hand Wales the lead before Ramos hit his third penalty to move France within one point.

The French suddenly looked the much better side against a Wales team decidedly on the backfoot in desperate defence.

While Thibaud Flament had a try disallowed, it was eventually replacement prop Colombe who broke the deadlock after Damian Penaud made a searing break down his right wing and Le Garrec kept the ball alive.

Ramos converted and hit another two points after giant lock Taofifenua charged down Gareth Davies’ clearance kick and was first to get to the ball over the line.

Wales were guilty of losing their composure, trying to run the ball out from deep as France closed down the game, Lucu making the most of a Penaud offload for a final try in the corner.

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