Sebastien Piqueronies praised France’s collective spirit as a 32-13 victory over Under-20 Six Nations rivals Wales moved them one step closer to the World Rugby Under-20 Championship semi-finals.
Fly-half Louis Carbonel starred, scoring 17 points as Les Bleuets responded in style to going behind early on.
Wales took the lead through the first of two Tomi Lewis tries but were bombarded by French pressure as Carbonel, Vincent Pinto, Donovan Taofifenua and Julien Delbouis all went over to earn a bonus-point victory.
France now face a decisive contest with Argentina to decide who qualifies automatically for the semi-finals from Pool A as group winners.
“[The win] proved we have the right mindset, the right determination and a togetherness, and those are the fundamentals needed to go on and achieve greater things,” said Piqueronies.
“We have been working hard together as a team and after that performance, I would like to congratulate the players for putting the team first, rather than their individual egos.
“The performance demonstrates our team solidarity. We picked 15 players to start the match but we know we have 27 players on the teamsheet who are capable of intervening and adding something different.
“I am thrilled with the attitude of all the players, from those who started the match to those who were out there warming up. We achieved the win because of having a good team mindset.”
🇫🇷🏴 La VICTOIRE et le BONUS ! Contrat rempli pour les Bleus qui s’offrent pour la 2e fois les 5 points dans ce Groupe A ! Rendez-vous mercredi contre l’Argentine pour aller chercher les demi-finales ! #FranceU20 #FRAPDG #NeFaisonsXV #WorldRugbyU20s pic.twitter.com/3KL6rUX910
— Fédération Française de Rugby (@FFRugby) 8 June 2019
Elsewhere, Steve Bates emphasised his side’s fighting qualities as England secured a tense 24-23 victory over Italy.
Josh Hodge’s late penalty guaranteed a nail-biting win in a game their Under-20s Six Nations rivals Italy had led for large parts of through tries from Cristian Lai, Ange Capuozzo and Paolo Garbisi.
But an England fightback brought them to within two, with Alex Coles and Tom Willis efforts before Hodge kicked the winner.
Italy’s Nicolae Cristian Stoian was also sent to the sin bin in a result which meant England now cannot overhaul Australia when the sides meet on Wednesday following the Pool B leaders’ earlier bonus-point win over Ireland.
“It was a tough game. Italy played well but we put them under a lot of pressure but didn’t turn that pressure into points and they capitalised on the opportunities they had,” said Bates.
“We will look back and say we made far too many individual mistakes but credit to our guys for fighting back in the manner they did to get the victory and the guys should be proud of that.”
“The standard of rugby in this tournament is increasing each year and with every game, and we’ve had two physically-demanding games, which the players have put everything into, so the challenge will be for the players to recover and pick themselves up for the final pool match against Australia.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) 9 June 2019
Up next alongside England’s clash with Australia in the final Pool B games is an all Under-20 Six Nations tie as Ireland, who currently sit second after losing 45-17 to Australia, face Italy.
Elsewhere, Scotland take on Georgia in Pool C with only pride at stake.