Junior World Championship: Wales U20 18-19 France U20
Wales U20 (15) 18
- Dixon, T Morgan
- O'Brien 2
France U20 (12) 19
- Thomas, Reynaud, Singer
- Serin 2
Wales Under-20s suffered a narrow defeat by France in the IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand.
The semi-final play-off consigned Byron Hayward's side to a contest for seventh place while France now have fifth in their sights.
Baptise Serin's conversion of Jean Baptiste Singer's 68th-minute try proved the difference.
Tries by Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan helped Wales U20 build a 15-7 lead, but France battled back in Pukekohe.
France flanker Jean Thomas opened the scoring with a try converted by Serin before fly-half Angus O'Brien's penalty and his conversion of centre Dixon's try put Wales in front.
Wing Morgan was next to touch down. But prop Tommy Reynaud struck back as half-time beckoned and O'Brien kicked Wales' final points seven minutes after the break.
Replacement Singer went over with 13 minutes remaining and Serin sent over the conversion to seal their win.
Wales U20s had beaten France U20s at the group stage and went into the tournament hoping to at least match their 2013 effort when they were beaten by England U20s in the final.
Wales U20: Dafydd Howells (Ospreys); Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Steffan Hughes (capt, Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Ashley Evans (Ospreys); Angus O'Brien (Dragons), Tom Williams (Blues); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Dragons), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (RGC), Scott Matthews (Dragons), James Benjamin (Dragons).
Replacements; Scott Otten (Ospreys), Luke Garrett (Dragons), Ben Leung (Scarlets), Ben Roach (Blues), Will Boyde (Carmarthen), Luc Jones (Dragons), Ethan Davies (Dragons), Harri Evans (RGC).
France U20: Pierre Justes; Kylan Hamdaoui, Xavier Mignot, Ivan Roux, Arthur Bonneval; Brandon Fajardo, Baptiste Serin; Youssef Amrouni, Romain Ruffenach, Tommy Raynaud, Arthur Iturria, Felix Lambey, Jean Thomas, Francois Cros (capt), Yacouba Camara.
Replacements: Camille Chat, Oleg Ishchenko, Simon Courcoul, Jean Baptiste Singer, Jean-Blaise Lespinasse, Thibault Daubagna, Francois Bouvier, Lucas Blanc.
Referee: Matt O'Brien (Australia).
Assistant referees: Vlad Iordachescu (Romania), Grant Stuart (New Zealand).
TMO: John Wright (New Zealand).