Skipper Ibanez delighted at French metal

France captain Raphael Ibanez was delighted with his side’s powers of recovery in the 32-21 win over Wales in Paris on Saturday night.

The visitors scored tries in the first 15 minutes through Alix Popham and Tom Shanklin to go 14-3 ahead, but Les Bleus fought back and deservedly claimed their third successive victory in the tournament.

Christophe Dominici and Lionel Nallet went over before the interval and David Skrela had a near-flawless display with the boot, the fly-half kicking 19 points to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

“What’s important is that the group had the resources to turn the situation around,” said Ibanez.

“We were calm, precise and that’s what we have been working at in training.

“They exploited our mistakes at the start of the game and they have dangerous players, we know that.

“We had to act quickly as we could not allow the situation to go on.

“We were aggressive and we had enough to turn it around. We were able to build the phases.

“The team is gradually building.”

France have lost three times in four matches against Wales at the Stade de France before tonight.

Two years ago, the Welsh recovered from going behind early on to win 24-18, on their way to the Grand Slam.

Head coach Bernard Laporte, whose side beat Italy and Ireland early in the competition is delighted to have put the record straight.

“Two years ago we were crying,” he said. “In that game, we were winning and ended up losing.

“We have had some ideas about how to play against them for over a week.

“They could have won this – they created opportunities and scored three tries.

“It was a difficult first quarter of an hour but we kept our heads. That is good for us.

“I am very happy because it is a third victory and it puts us in a good position.

“The players are happy because they won at home. They are continuing to make progress.”

365 Digital

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