Jamie Roberts believes France’s last-gasp 32-30 victory over Wales was one of the greatest matches that the Guinness Six Nations has ever seen.
Wales looked to have a second Grand Slam in three years wrapped up with five minutes left on the clock in Paris, with Wayne Pivac’s side ten points to the good and sitting pretty, before 14-man France performed miracles to steal the win at the death.
It was 80 minutes of pure drama at Stade de France, with four tries within the opening 20 minutes, as well as two game-changing scores at the death, with four cards dished out by referee Luke Pearce to top it off.
And the nonstop action left Roberts, who helped Wales to back-to-back Championships in 2012 and 2013, in awe of what he had just witnessed, like most of us watching at home.
“That’s the fastest my heart has ever beaten, that last ten minutes – have you ever seen a Six Nations finish like that,” Roberts said on BBC post-match.
“For me that’s one of the greatest Six Nations games that I’ve ever witnessed, and I think the majority of people watching will ever witness in this tournament.
“It had everything, it had tries from the off. The opening quarter of an hour we had four tries.
“It had disallowed tries, it had cards, two yellows, one red, and that finish – we’ve never seen that.”
Less than quarter of the game had been played and we had already seen Dan Biggar and Josh Navidi cross for the visitors, while Romain Taofifénua and Antoine Dupont went over for the hosts, but that turned out to be just an appetiser of what was to come as the clock ticked down in the French capital.
Josh Adams looked to have swung the tie very much in Wales’ favour with another score just after the break, with the 2019 Grand Slam champions ready to toast another unbeaten Championship after Paul Willemse saw red around the hour mark.
But even with 14 men, Les Bleus were relentless in their attack, and weren’t willing to give up on the 2021 Guinness Six Nations title without a fight, as they fought tooth and nail to get back into the game, forcing Taulupe Faletau and Liam Williams to be shown yellows card in their desperate attempts to keep them at bay.
And against 13 men the pressure was relentless on the Welsh try line, with Charles Ollivon crossing with four minutes to go to set up a grandstand finish, with hearts in mouths from Cardiff to Wrexham as the game sat on a knife edge.
As the clock went red Wales were still champions with a three-point victory in their grasp but were soaking up wave after wave of French attack, and their man disadvantage eventually told in the dying seconds as Brice Dulin crossed to break Welsh hearts, and leave the Championship in the balance until France face Scotland this coming Friday.
Fabien Galthie’s side will need to score four tries and win by more than 20 points to secure a first title since 2010 in six days’ time, but whatever happens in Paris, it will be hard-pressed to beat what was one of the all-time great Championship matches.