France is one of the world's great rugby nations, but the big prize still eludes them
Quarter Finals Day Two
Wales 20-19 France
Japan 3-26 South Africa
Next weekend’s semi-finals will be fought out between the two best teams in Europe and the two best teams in the rest of the world. Japan’s thrilling run was ended today by a ruthless second half performance from South Africa, and World Cup success continues to be elusive for France. After a first half in which a 19-10 lead over Wales did little justice to their dominance, France had lock Sebastien Vahaamahina sent off with half an hour to play and narrowly failed to hold on their lead.
The French and Welsh languages have a number of similarities. When Romans conquered Britain, Welsh speakers incorporated Latin words into their vocabulary, often words relating to things the Romans brought with them or took over, such as religion and territory. So the French église and the Welsh eglwys are similar to each other while bearing no resemblance to the English translation, church. Likewise the French and Welsh words for bridge are identical: pont.
But while Welsh is spoken by fewer than a million people with no significant penetration beyond its national borders, French is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world and the second most widely studied. The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) reports that 300 million people speak the language proficiently and it estimates that this figure may be as high as 700 million by 2050. Who knows, by that time France might even have won a Rugby World Cup?
DID YOU KNOW
Runners-up in 1987, 1999 and 2011, France remain the only team to have appeared in a World Cup final but not to have won the trophy.
Wales (10) 20
Tries: Wainwright, Moriarty
Cons: Biggar 2
Pens: Biggar 2
France (19) 19
Tries: Vahaamahina, Ollivon, Vakatawa
Cons: Ntamack 2
Japan (3) 3
South Africa (5) 26
Tries: Mapimpi (2), de Klerk
Pens: Pollard (3)
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