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Jones urges Welsh improvement as France prove too strong in autumn warm-up

Jones urges Welsh improvement as France prove too strong in autumn warm-up

Jones urges Welsh improvement as France prove too strong in autumn warm-up

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones challenged his side to improve in their upcoming internationals after they were beaten 38-21 by France in an entertaining autumn warm-up match.

Jones equalled Richie McCaw’s record of 148 international caps in Paris but ended on the losing side against a French team who showed their attacking flair with five excellent tries.

Wales face Scotland in their final Guinness Six Nations match next week before taking on Ireland, Georgia and England in the Autumn Nations Cup – and Jones admitted they will need to play better.

“Credit to the French, they had us on a couple of counter-attacks,” he said.

“We’re disappointed to let in a few soft tries. We knew how potent they were in attack, so there are no excuses for us.”

“But we need to get better. I thought in parts we were decent today but we definitely have a few gears to go up.”

Wales flew out the traps at the Stade de France and were 10-0 up inside 10 minutes through Leigh Halfpenny’s try and the boot of Dan Biggar.

France hit back in style and were in front after tries from Cyril Baille and Antoine Dupont, who finished off a flowing move including a superb offload from Virimi Vakatawa, either side of another Biggar penalty.

Dupont was then on hand to finish another quality attack before the break, which arrived with France 21-13 up having turned the half on its head.

The sides traded penalties in the early stages of the second half, which saw Wales hand debuts to Louis Rees-Zammit and Sam Parry, but Biggar slid two further penalties wide of the upright as the visitors missed the chance to narrow the deficit.

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France made them pay with a clinical break for their fourth try. Dupont was again at the heart of it, bursting through the Welsh defence and drawing the last man to give his captain Charles Ollivon a clear run to the line.

Wales responded immediately through Nicky Smith but France had the final word courtesy of a moment of magic from Teddy Thomas, who collected his own chip to put the shine on the victory and left Jones rueing his side’s inability to make the most of their chances.

“We had a dream start with getting that early score but we were under the cosh after that,” said the 35-year-old.

“It’s very dangerous scoring so early sometimes as you can slip into defending a lead. I don’t think we did that but I don’t think we closed enough opportunities off.

“We had territory and possession at the start of the second half but credit to France, they were potent on the counter-attack and capitalised on that.”

Wales’ clash with Scotland kicks off Round 5 of the Guinness Six Nations next weekend while Wayne Pivac’s side also feature in the first Autumn Nations Cup match, which takes place against Ireland in Dublin on November 13.

Two days later, France – who could win the Six Nations next weekend if they beat Ireland and other results go their way – kick off their Group B campaign against Fiji before later taking on Scotland and Italy.

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