A TURGID Six Nations game, one that wasn't going to last long in the memory, ended in the most dramatic of fashions that few will forget with Wales suffering a 100th-minute defeat to France in Paris.
In farcical circumstances, the final whistle was blown by referee Wayne Barnes five seconds shy of a century, tighthead prop Samson Lee remarkably returning to the field after being sin-binned in injury time.
There were scrum resets, penalties, a doctor ordering a head injury assessment for a struggling French tighthead, accusations of biting… and finally a close-range try by back row forward Damian Chouly.
His finish set the scene for Camille Lopez to bang over the conversion and controversially steal the spoils, leaving the Welsh players and management crestfallen.
They will feel they did enough to win the game - and put the pressure on Ireland in the race for top-seed status at the World Cup - but in the end a sterling defensive display on their line fell short.
It was a shambolic end to what had been a very forgettable game, a farce that didn’t paint the Six Nations in a good light despite the drama.
There are sure to be recriminations and accusations after a denouement that wasn’t in keeping with a mediocre encounter.
The week-long build-up had featured the familiar cliché about silencing the Paris punters but instead Les Bleus made a flying start to race 10-0 ahead.
With powerhouse number eight Louis Picamoles in ominous form, they charged into Wales and reaped the rewards with a cunning play by Camille Lopez.
The fly-half, who had missed an early shot at goal, chipped over the defensive line and Remi Lamerat beat his midfield partner Gael Fickou to the ball.
Lopez converted and added a penalty for a deserved lead against a Wales side that had failed to fire a shot.
However, the visitors reduced the deficit with three points that could easily have been five and maybe even seven.
They burst down the right flank and fly-half Dan Biggar’s attempted pass to George North was knocked on by wing Virimi Vakatawa in the tackle, a deliberate offence according to referee Wayne Barnes.
The former Monmouth School pupil deemed that scrum-half Baptiste Serin was covering so Leigh Halfpenny banged over three points rather than a conversion of a penalty try.
It settled Wales and they used their numerical advantage to cut to within four points thanks to an offside offence.
The game wasn’t exactly riveting with plenty of errors and Wales having a torrid time at the breakdown.
But they would have been pretty content to be just one point down as they headed for their changing room with Les Bleus pinged for offside in their 22 after scrambling following a Dan Biggar chip over the top that was gathered by centre Scott Williams.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with a general feel of lethargy.
France wasted two chances to stretch clear – going quickly with one penalty in the 22 and then opting another scrum from an offence only to then be penalised by Mr Barnes – and it remained 10-9 with half an hour left.
The visitors got their noses in front for the first time with a beautifully-struck Halfpenny penalty in the 54th minute.
However, they suffered a blow when locks Alun Wyn Jones and Jake Ball were forced off by injury, forcing them to play the final quarter with Taulupe Faletau as a makeshift second row partner for Luke Charteris with hooker Scott Baldwin in the back row.
Nonetheless, a lineout offence against Tipuric gave Halfpenny a shot at goal that he superbly took from long-range to make it 15-10.
Back came Les Bleus after a misread straight from the restart with captain Guilhem Guirado pointing for the sticks for Lopez to swiftly make it a two-point game again.
No sooner were they back within a kick of the lead than a high tackle on Ken Owens gifted the full-back in red an easy three-pointer.
France had offered little in terms of flowing attack since their bright opening but ended in the Welsh 22, the match descending into a shambles with the dramatic denouement.
France: B Dulin, N Nakaitaci, R Lamerat (F Trinh-Duc 65), G Fickou, V Vakatawa (Y Huget 53), C Lopez (F Trinh-Duc 33-39), B Serin (A Dupont 19-25, 71), C Baille (E Ben Arous 54), G Guirado (captain, C Chat 71), R Slimani (U Antonio 54), S Vahaamahina (J Ledevedec 76), Y Maestri, F Saconnie (D Chouly 54), K Gourdon, L Picamoles.
Scorers: tries – R Lamerat, D Chouly; conversions – C Lopez (2); penalties – C Lopez (2)
Yellow card: V Vakatawa
Wales: L Halfpenny (T Francis 80), G North, J Davies, S Williams (J Roberts 53), L Williams, D Biggar, R Webb (G Davies ), R Evans (N Smith 80), K Owens, T Francis (S Lee 60), J Ball (S Baldwin 60-71), AW Jones (captain, L Charteris 51), S Warburton, J Tipuric, R Moriarty (T Faletau 53).
Scorers: penalties – L Halfpenny (6)
Yellow card: S Lee
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)