World Cup - Warburton off as France edge out Wales

Sat, 15 Oct 12:35:00 2011

France beat 14-man Wales 9-8 to reach the World Cup final in a controversial match at Eden Park in Auckland that saw Sam Warburton sent-off in the first-half.

Wales captain Sam Warburton (7) makes an illegal tackle on France's Vincent Clerc - 0

Mike Phillips scored the only try of the match in the second-half but Warren Gatland's side were denied a first appearance in a World Cup final and the aftermath will be dominated by Warburton's dismissal.

Wales had enjoyed a 70 per cent territorial dominance in the opening 15 minutes before the dismissal of their skipper after 18 minutes.

Irish official Alain Rolland adjudged that the 23-year-old had committed a spear tackle on Vincent Clerc although the winger had been released from Warburton's grasp before landing on his back.

Wales had led 3-0 at that point through James Hook’s eighth minute penalty, after Thierry Dusautoir was offside at the ruck, but Morgan Parra kicked two first-half penalties to give France a 6-3 half-time lead.

The loss of Warburton was compounded by an early injury that forced prop Adam Jones off but despite the pressure on their scrum, with centre Jamie Roberts filling in as flanker, Wales could have led at the interval but Hook skewed two penalties wide of the right post before making a hash of a drop goal.

Jones' replacement Paul James was under pressure after coming on and he collapsed a maul to concede a penalty 10 minutes after the break that allowed Parra to extend the lead.

But after 58 minutes a piece of individual brilliance from scrum-half Phillips saw Wales back in the game. He darted around the breakdown and fended off Pascal Pape before scoring.

Stephen Jones had replaced Hook early in the second-half but his conversion attempt, that would have given Wales the lead, hit the upright.

The veteran then made a hash of a drop goal before Leigh Halfpenny's penalty kick from halfway fell agonisingly short inside the final 10 minutes.

Wales had one last chance as time expired and went through 27 phases before the ball was lost to allow France to reach their third World Cup final where they will meet either Australia or New Zealand next Sunday.

TIMELINE

8' Hook penalty - Wales 3-0

18' Warburton red card

22' Parra penalty - 3-3

35' Parra penalty - France 6-3

51' Parra penalty - France 9-3

59' Phillips try - France 9-8

Lee Walker - Follow me on Twitter @leewalk498 / Eurosport

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