WALES finished third in the Under-20s Six Nations after being overpowered 40-20 by France in Montauban.
Les Bleuets ran in six tries in front of a capacity 10,000 crowd at the Stade Sapiac with Wales striking first through number eight Aled Ward and last through Newport Gwent Dragons fly-half Arwel Robson.
The defeat meant that Jason Strange’s side had to settle for third place in the Championship with France finishing as runners-up to England, who secured the Grand Slam with victory in Dublin.
Wales now turn their attentions to the World Rugby U20 Championship that pits them in a tough group against the English, Australia and Samoa and the lessons from the south of France will have been valuable.
They started strongly when Ward went over after Ben Jones made a fine break, the fly-half then adding the extras and a pair of penalties for a 13-0 lead.
That was as good as it got for the visitors with France exploiting full-back Rhun Williams’ yellow card for a high tackle.
Les Bleuets went into half-time with a 14-13 lead courtesty of scores by scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud and fly-half Romain Ntamack, son of iconic former France and Toulouse wing Emile.
The hosts stretched away in the second half through number eight Alexandre Roumat, son of ex-France lock Olivier, and tries by centre Pablo Uberti, full-back Geoffrey Cros and centre Theo Millet.
Robson, who made his Dragons debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Leicester last November, finished smartly at the death for a consolation before converting superbly from out wide.