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).

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home