Williams sets try record as young Wales go close

Wales 16 France 28: Winger scores two to pass coach Harris but experienced French prevail

The Racecourse Ground

The winger Rhys Williams played down his achievement after he became Wales' all-time leading try-scorer. The 22-year-old, who is currently on loan from Warrington to Castleford, touched down on the stroke of half-time in Wrexham for his 12th international try, to equal the record held by his team's coach, Iestyn Harris. He scored a second on the hour.

"I'd rather have not scored and the team win than break the record and the team lose," Williams said. "I'm delighted with the tries but I would have preferred the win."

Williams' efforts were among a host of pleasing aspects of the game for Harris, as his young side made France fight all the way.

"We're disappointed because it's a Test match we feel we could have won but there were massive positives for the future of Welsh rugby league," said Harris. "There were a lot of guys unavailable who will be available at the end of the year, but the young guys stood up and showed they're ready for international rugby. We're on a journey to the World Cup and beyond and I think we're in a pretty good state.

"If you take Jordan James and Christian Roet out, everyone is under the age of 25 and we had some 17- and 18-year-olds who stood up well against an experienced French side."

The Welsh had six youngsters on debut in the absence of five regulars through injury in addition to their Australia-based players. The French were able to call on six Catalan Dragons. Led by Jordan James, on his 25th appearance, the Welsh enjoyed a promising opening but the danger signs were there when the France scrum-half, William Barthau, wriggled over the line – only for the referee, James Child, to disallow the try for a knock-on.

The opening score came right from a Catalan training-ground move, the full-back Cyril Stacul taking Thomas Bosc's inside pass to glide over for the first of his two tries on 15 minutes. Bosc kicked the goal and the visitors dominated the rest of the half without being able to fully make their pressure count.

The second-rower Antoni Maria was held up on his back over the line and the winger Jrmy Guiraud was brought back for a forward pass before the loose forward Grgory Mounis took Barthau's defence-splitting pass and wrong-footed the home full-back, David James, to score his side's second try eight minutes before the interval.

Wales grabbed a foothold in the game on the stroke of half-time when they worked the ball left and Williams took David James's pass to go over for his first try.

The Welsh then made an impressive start to the second half but the second-rower Andy Bracek's clean break petered out and the centre Roets was ruled offside when he touched down Danny Jones's kick to the line.

France re-asserted themselves when the prop Mathieu Griffi burst through to score two tries in seven minutes, the second after a superb break by another front-rower, Mickaël Simon. In between Griffi's double the impressive David James scythed through for a try and combined with Roets to get Williams over.

Jones converted both second-half tries to make it 22-16, but the French made sure of the victory when their captain, Oliver Elima, broke clear and Bosc sent Stacul over for his second try. Bosc kicked a fourth goal.

France's caretaker coach, Aurlien Cologni, said: "It was a tough game for us but we knew beforehand that it would be. This is a new team for us and I'm very pleased with the young players we brought in."

Wales: D James; Pring, Channing, Roets, Williams; Jones, Olds; J James, Parry, Emmitt, Bracek, Lloyd, Divorty. Substitutes used: Fleming, I Brown, Burke, Moss.

France: Stacul; Guiraud, Baile, Pala, Soubeyras; Bosc, Barthau; Griffi, K Bentley, Simon, Elema, Maria, Mounis. Substitutes used: Pelissier, Bemba, A Bentley, Larroyer.

Referee: J Child (England).

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal