WALES Under-20s face a swift reunion with France in the Junior World Championships after denying the Grand Slam winners a place in the semi-finals.
Byron Hayward’s young guns responded to the disappointment of their 35-21 defeat to the Irish by producing a sterling defensive performance to beat the French 13-3 in Auckland.
They led 6-3 at the break thanks to a pair of penalties by Cross Keys fly-half Angus O’Brien to one by Bordeaux Begles scrum-half Baptiste Serin.
And the crucial try came 13 minutes into the second half when Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tom Williams won the race to Dragons centre Jack Dixon’s kick through.
O’Brien converted and Wales defended stoutly to prevent the Six Nations champions from adding to their tally and qualifying for the last four.
The result meant that Wales finished second in Group B behind Ireland, who beat Fiji 38-0, but New Zealand qualified for the semis as best runner-up courtesy of their 54-7 thrashing of Scotland.
Hayward’s team now enter the playoffs to decide the fifth to eighth placings and they will lock horns with France once again on Sunday (kick-off 6.35am). The victors will go on to play the winners of Australia’s encounter with Samoa.
Wales scorers: try – T Williams; conversion – A O’Brien; penalties – A O’Brien (2)
France scorers: penalty – B Serin