HISTORY repeated itself as Wales were overpowered by France in the second half to see their World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final hopes dashed by the champions.

The Welsh youngsters were just 10-8 down at the break in Rosario but, just like in February’s Six Nations clash in Vannes, could not live with Les Bleuets after the break and lost 32-13.

Earlier this year it ended 32-10 after being 17-10 at the interval and this time the French ran in three tries to take control of Pool One.

Gareth Williams side started the tournament with an super, if nervy, 30-25 success against hosts Argentina.

However, Les Bleuets proved to be too strong and now Wales, who face Fiji on Wednesday, will be playing for places rather than the title.

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Wales had to absorb some early pressure but were in front in the fifth minute when centres Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler and Max Llewellyn combined to give Scarlets wing Tomi Lewis a run-in.

Fly-half Cai Evans, whose impressive 20-point haul earned the spoils against Argentina, was wide with the conversion.

France attempted to respond swiftly through brute force but the Welsh pack held firm from two close range lineouts and then strong midfield defence forced a turnover only to concede a scrum penalty that Louis Carbonel punished from the tee.

Wales were more than holding their own against the champions but missed a chance to put more pressure on as the game entered the second quarter when Evans went for broke from a penalty to the corner and kicked it dead.

France made them pay straight away with a peach of a score, Rayne Barka cutting a nice line and produced a terrific offload to supporting Toulon prospect Carbonel, who added the simple extras for a 10-5 lead.

Evans swiftly cut the gap from the tee and Wales were performing strongly, albeit Les Bleuets looked dangerous with the odd flash of inspiration with ball in hand.

Yet it was with the sledgehammer that they attempted to move further ahead on the stroke of half-time when they kicked a penalty to the corner, but once again the Welsh defence held firm.

Williams’ men would have been content with the 10-8 scoreline but Vannes showed the need to keep the intensity going against the powerful French.

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France started the second half with handling errors galore but were over the line in the 45th minute after Barka was worked in down the right only for the on-field decision of try to be overturned when television footage showed the final pass to be forward.

However, there was no doubt about the score from the next play when France ran the ball back with a chip and chase before working the ball to the right for wing Vincent Pinto to reach over to make it 15-8.

Carbonel missed the conversion but popped over a penalty after 54 minutes to put Les Bleuets two scores clear, reflecting their dominance of possession and territory.

The killer blow came in the 65th minute when France's pressure led to Toulouse back Matthis Lebel being worked in down the left.

Lewis went over for a well-deserved second but Wales could not scramble for a losing bonus and it was France that got their extra from the final play through Julien Delbouis from close range.

Wales U20 v France: Ioan Davies (Cardiff Blues), Tomi Lewis (Scarlets), Max Llewellyn (Cardiff Blues), Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler (Ospreys), Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets), Cai Evans (Ospreys), Dafydd Buckland (Dragons): Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets), Dewi Lake (captain – Ospreys), Ben Warren (Cardiff Blues), Ed Scragg (Dragons), Jac Price (Scarlets), Iestyn Rees (Scarlets), Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), Jac Morgan (Aberavon/Scarlets).

Replacements: Will Griffiths (Dragons), Garin Lloyd (Ospreys), Rhys Davies (Ospreys), Tom Devine (Dragons), Nick English (Bristol Bears), Morgan Jones (Scarlets), Lennon Greggains (Dragons), Harri Morgan (Ospreys) Sam Costelow (Leicester Tigers), Deon Smith (Dragons), Rio Dyer (Dragons).

Wales scorers: tries - T Lewis (2); penalty - C Evans.