France score first win under Frayssinous
France continued their World Cup preparations with a 34-10 defeat of Wales to give Laurent Frayssinous his first Test win since taking charge of Les Bleus last year.
Played in windy conditions at Albi, France ran in six tries as a side dominated by Catalans and Toulouse players proved too strong for a Wales outfit, who were playing their first Test since beating Ireland 40-8 on November 11, 2018.
Fullback Morgan Escare was the only French player in the 17 man squad who doesn't play for Catalans or Toulouse and the Salford star was considered man-of-the-match.
Swinton’s Mike Butt was named at full-back by John Kear. Matty Fozard partnered Elliot Kear in the halves.
Will Evans, Luis Roberts, Bailey Antrobus all made their debuts in the starting 13, while Lewis Hulme, Tom Hopkins and Luke Thomas made their first Wales appearances from the bench.
Fozard almost broke the deadlock on 11 minutes, only to lose the ball over the try-line.
It was the France captain, Ben Garcia, who opened the scoring on 18 minutes, as the former Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers forward did it all himself to crash over under the sticks for a 6-0 lead. Arthur Mourgue converted.
Mourgue almost extended the home side’s advantage on 28 minutes, only to drop the ball on the line. The Catalans youngster received heavy treatment on his ankle, and left the field in the second half.
France eventually crossed for their second try on 33 minutes; Mickael Goudemand barging his way over from dummy-half, with Mourgue once again converting.
It took France just two minutes to cross in the second half, with Eloi Pelissier scoring from close range and Escare converting for an 18-0 lead.
Wales scored their first try in the 48th minute through Butt. The fullback was on the end of an offload from debutant Luis Roberts to cross, with Fozard converting.
Benjamin Jullien restored Frances’ three-try lead when he powered over some weak defence. Escare missed the attempt out-wide in windy conditions.
Escare crossed himself just three minutes later, doing it all himself from dummy-half and dancing around the Welsh defence before Bousquet powered his way over in the 69th minute.
Kear’s men did cross once more, with Dalton Grant scoring in the corner four minutes before time.
France 34: Benjamin Garcia (18), Mickael Goudemand (33), Eloi Pelissier (41), Benjamin Jullien (57), Morgan Escare (58), Julien Bosquet (68) tries; Arthur Mourgue (2/2), Morgan Escare (3/4) goals
Wales 10: Michael Butt (48), Dalton Grant (75) tries; Matthew Fozard (1/2) goals.
France: Morgan Escare, Paul Marcon, Arthur Romano, Mathieu Laguerre, Fouad Yaha, Arthur Mourgue, Cesar Rouge, Romain Navarette, Alrix Da Costa, Julien Bosquet, Benjamin Jullien, Paul Seguier, Benjamin Garcia. Interchange: Eloi Pelissi, Jordan Dezaria, Justin Sangare, Mickael Goudemand.
Wales: Michael Butt, Dalton Grant, Will Evans, Luis Roberts, Rhys Williams (c), Matthew Fozard, Elliot Kear, Anthony Walker, Curtis Davies, Ben Evans, Bailey Antrobus, Chester Butler, Joe Burke. Interchange: Connor Davies, Lewis Hulme, Sam Hopkins, Luke Thomas.
Photos: David Gibson Photography