Wales Under 18 were pipped at the post by France in Massy, Paris, where they lost 20-17.
The Welsh youngsters scored two first half tries through Kieran Williams and Shaun Pearce, with a penalty and two conversions for Billy McBryde, but Wales didn’t take all their chances and France scored two late tries to seal the game.
Billy McBryde got the first points on the board, with a penalty kick, soon equalled by his French counterpart.
Kieran Williams, who was a constant threat as a ball-carrying centre, scored the first Welsh try, after a short pass from scrum half Matthew Aubry. The second try was straight from the training park, Shaun Pearce running in from 40 metres.
McBryde, son of Wales forwards coach Robin, brought variety into the Welsh game, and there was good line-out ball, where Callum Bradbury particularly impressive.
But France were the stronger side in the second half, keeping the ball for long periods. Wales started to drop off in defence and although they produced chances, the momentum had passed to France, and yellow card to Lloyd Lewis didn’t help matters. Wales were awarded a late penalty which, had they have chosen to kick, could have drawn the match, but they were nothing if not bold and went for the win.
WRU Performance Manager Gethin Watts said, “It was a great effort considering it was the first international match for many of the players, and they competed well against France away from home.
“It was an excellent performance in many ways but some important lessons have been learned ahead of the home Test next Sunday against England (St Helens, 4pm).”
Full Time: France U18 20-17 Wales U18
Wales U18 XV:
Rhun Williams (RGC / Llandrillo / Caernarfon); Lloyd Lewis (Dragons/ Gwynlliw), Kieran Williams (Ospreys / Neath Port Talbot Coll/ Glynneath), Danny Cross (RGC / Rydal Penrhos / Wrexham), Shaun Pearce (Scarlets / Coleg sir Gar/ Kidwelly); Billy McBryde (Scarlets / Coleg Sir Gar/ Llanelli), Matthew Aubrey (Ospreys / Gower College / Pontarddulais); Corey Domachowski (Blues / Gilfach Goch), Ellis Shipp (Dragons / Coleg Gwent / Penallta), Leon Brown (Dragons / Newport High / Cross Keys), Calum Haggett (Blues / Cymoedd / Gilfach Goch), Callum Bradbury (Blues / Cymoedd / Beddau),Nathan Hudd (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Blues / Cymoedd/ Beddau), Aled Ward (Blues / Cowbridge / Cardiff Quins)
Gerwyn Coleman (Blues / Cymoedd), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets / Llandovery), Kieron Assirrati (Blues / Coleg y Cymoedd / Wattstown), Shane Lewis Hughes (Blues / Cowbridge Comprehensive), Joe Gaughan (Blues /Cowbridge / Glamorgan Wanderers), Connor Edwards (Dragons / Croesyceiliog RFC), Arwel Robson (Dragons / Coleg Gwent / Penallta), Efan Jones (RGC / Rydal Penrhos / Wrexham)