Wales head coach Wayne Pivac says he was left “numb” after his side were denied a Grand Slam as France snatched victory in one of the most exciting Six Nations climaxes in history.
With 10 minutes remaining in Paris, Wales were leading by 10 points with France reduced to 14 men, but then they had two players sin-binned and were pegged back by a Charles Ollivon try.
Brice Dulin then scored another try in stoppage time to secure an astonishing 32-30 win that leaves both teams still in the hunt for the title but with Welsh Grand Slam hopes gone.
“It’s quite a numb feeling. The boys have put in such a fantastic effort,” Pivac said.
“It wasn’t to be. It came down to the last play of the game.
“We were down two players, down on the penalty count and on a final warning. It was hard to defend at that point but the guys had done tremendously well to hold out.
“It was one too many attacks. Certainly our discipline didn’t help us in the last 10 minutes.
“At the end of the day, the penalty count got up and we knew what would happen there with a final warning.”
It had all been going so well for Wales, who stood toe-to-toe with the hosts and then edged clear on the scoreboard in a second half full of incident where the TMO was seemingly involved in almost every decision.
“There was a major point for us where we got a big drive going,” Pivac said.
“There was a yellow card but I was expecting a penalty try. If that happens, it’s probably championship and Grand Slam.
“The players were so close and yet so far. It’s a tough time, but we have to be proud of the effort.
“To go from a Grand Slam to waiting for six days is frustrating. But there’s nothing we can do now but sit back and watch next week.”
Wales’ title hopes depend on France not beating Scotland with a bonus-point and by 21 points next Friday.
Captain Alun Wyn Jones was equally frustrated by how the big one slipped away.
“We didn’t win the game and that was the main focus,” he said. “I thought we were pretty good for 80 minutes, it was just those dying seconds.
“Our ill-discipline brought pressure on. Credit to France for their last 15 but when we look back, it was our indiscipline as well as superb French play.
“We knew what was at stake, it’s not in our hands now.
“We’re proud and privileged to be able to get on with the tournament and to win the Triple Crown. Hopefully we made people at home proud, but it is out of our hands now.”