Wales quiet on Edwards' absence

France 28 Wales 9

After failing to douse the resurgent Gallic flames, Wales are now fighting a fire which could prove even more destructive. The future employment of Shaun Edwards, the defence coach and right-hand man to Warren Gatland, is under scrutiny after he was suspended for an alleged fight with the team's sports scientist.

Rarely has a post-match inquiry focused so briefly on the heavy defeat. Indeed, the main point of discussion – apart from the exact details of the altercation – was to what extent Wales had been affected by the absence of Edwards, both from the build-up and the game.

As the WRU's media management dashed around the players advising them to tow the "no comment" line of this being "a private matter" a picture emerged of a camp on red alert. What they would admit was that Edwards and Fergus Connolly, the other member of staff involved in the fracas, did not travel to Paris. Lee Byrne, the full-back, let it slip that Edwards had not been involved in the final practise sessions for an encounter which saw Wales ship three tries, concede their heaviest Six Nations loss under Gatland and so slip from second to fourth in the final table.

If Gatland and the PR men believe a "we are dealing with the matter internally", will suffice they have much to learn about the Welsh public and its media. They would be well advised to come clean about the incident and whatever recrimination followed, but will probably be forced to do exactly that after the next few days of rumour and intrigue. Already many are seeing the irony of Wales's reputation being threatened by a alleged bust-up involving an Englishman and Irishman.

Wasps's opinion might also be of interest after their head coach was involved in a scene at the team hotel which was, apparently, at best ugly. It occurred in the hours after the victory over Ireland and was presumably witnessed by members of the public. Connolly is not a high-profile figure in the camp, but in his role as conditioning expert has worked with the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Joe Calzaghe in the past. Neither he or Edwards could be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, the management refused to confirm if Edwards had even been "officially" suspended or for how long, although a source insisted he would be back for the next international, against the Barbarians on 4 June. By all accounts the WRU have not disciplined Edwards but instead "it's more of a team thing".

Whatever that means, Wales will doubtless soon discover as they continue to count the very real cost of such a depressing climax. The players, themselves, have seen their earnings hit as well as their pride. They went from being on £40,000 a man to £7,000 for finishing fourth. This was the third time in succession they have ended below England, France and Ireland and the frustration was written all over Gatland's fact. After a trio of consecutive wins, Wales were, in the Kiwi's words "presented with a big opportunity".

Perhaps not to force the highly unlikely scenario of a 27-point win to steal the title, but definitely to maintain the momentum. "We like the underdog tag," he said. "But whenever the expectation is for us to go out and perform, we've struggled. For me, that's particularly disappointing." With South Africa, Samoa and Fiji looming in the World Cup group stages it must also be classed as deeply worrying.

In contrast, France can go forward with a measure of hope and that seemed impossible a few days before as the defeat of Italy was analysed and the coach Marc Lievremont accused his team of "betrayal" and of "being cowardly". France responded – either because of or in spite of their coach – with the captain, Thierry Dusautoir, and the two-try lock, Lionel Nallet, oustanding. François Trinh-Duc also put his opposite number in the shade, James Hook suffering a torrid evening in the No 10 shirt.

Hook was sin-binned and was then immediately replaced by Gatland. Hook may well be glad of the week he will now spend looking for a house in Perpignan, the team he is due to join. Indeed, Wales is a place to avoid for all those who may be in the firing line.

Scorers: France: Tries: Nallet (2), Clerc. Conversions: Parra (2). Penalties: Parra (3). Wales: Penalties: Hook (3).

France: M Medard (Toulouse); V Clerc (Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), D Traille (Biarritz), A Palisson (Brive); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), L Nallet (Racing Metro), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz). Replacements: P Pape (Stade Francais) for Pierre 67; L Deucalion (Castres) for Mas, 67; E Estebanez (Brive) for Traille, 70; G Guirado (Perpignan) for Servat 70, A Lapandry (Clermont-Auvergne) for Harinordoquy, 72; J Tomas (Montpellier) for Parra, 73; Y Huget (Bayonne) for Clerc, 75.

Wales: L Byrne (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Blues), J Roberts (Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), G North (Scarlets); J Hook (Ospreys), M Phillips (Ospreys); P James (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets, capt), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Dragons), S Warburton (Blues), R Jones (Ospreys). Replacements: J Thomas (Ospreys) for Warburton, 15; J Yapp (Blues) for A Jones, 53; S Jones (Scarlets) for Hook, 67; D Peel (Sale) for Phillips, 67; R Hibbard (Ospreys) for Rees 67; R McCusker (Scarlets) for Thomas, 70.

Referee: C Joubert (SA).

The match statistics

France - Points - Wales

3 Tries 0
2/3 Conversions 0/0
3/4 Penalties 3/4
0/1 Drop goals 0/0

Phases of play
2 Scrums won 1
0 Scrums lost 0
13 Line-outs won 10
3 Line-outs lost 2
12 Pens conceded 13
7 Mauls won 0
32 Ruck and drive 52
40 Ruck and pass 39

FranceTeam stats Wales
124 Passes made 151
4 Line breaks 2
24 Possession kicked 20
6 Kicks to touch 4
132 Tackles made 88
11 Tackles missed 5
6 Offloads in tackle 18
9 Total errors made 12

Balls won
79 In open play 91
26 In opponent's 22 14
28 At set-pieces 23
4 Turnovers won 0



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition