France advanced to the World Cup final with a narrow 9-8 win at Eden Park here on Saturday over a Wales team reduced to 14 men after the sending off of captain Sam Warburton with 60 minutes of the game left.
Wales' Bradley Davies (right) tries to take the ball off France's Lionel Nallet during their Rugby World Cup semi-final clash at the Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday. France won 9-8. PIC/AFP
Three penalties from France fly-half Morgan Parra were enough to outscore a Mike Phillips solo try and James Hook penalty for Wales, who employed a poor kicking game all evening against a French team content to soak up the pressure.
"We are very happy to be in the final tonight," said France captain Thierry Dusautoir. "It was a very tough game for us. Today we won thanks to our defence, we didn't play rugby so well. We played with our hearts," the flanker added.
Wales coach Warren Gatland slammed the decision of Irish referee Alain Rolland to red-card Warburton in the 19th minute for a 'tip tackle' on Vincent Clerc that saw the France wing hit the turf head-first. "He (Warburton) is not a dirty player. Why spoil a World Cup semi-final by giving a red card? I'm absolutely gutted by it," Gatland said.