WALES skipper Dafydd Jenkins admitted that Wales didn’t cope with the huge French pack in the closing stages.

“We felt the French would fatigue, but it didn’t go to plan," he said, with Wales now facing a wooden spoon battle with Italy on Saturday.

"They’re big men. We knew that was coming. We were excited by the physical battle but definitely came off second best today.

"We’re not happy about it. The boys give everything week in and week out. I don’t think fatigue will ever be a factor. Every man loves his country and would play all day for his country. It’s probably just about accuracy.

“Next week is massive. We don’t want to be bottom. Italy have won here before so we’re not taking it for granted. We’re just going to reflect on this game and look at how we can get better."

Wales coach Warren Gatland added: "I don’t know if it got away. The last 20 minutes we were 24-23 but couldn’t manage the game.

"Turnovers are disappointing with some soft points given away. We probably over played.

"Even when we were down by six points on 70 minutes, you’re just thinking, ‘play territorially, don’t give anything away, you’re going to get another chance to attack’.

"And then we hurt ourselves by not managing the game...

“The scrum is not there at the moment. Our line-out was excellent. Line speed on defence could have been a bit better. And the plan for us was if we could keep mutli-phase attacks we could cause them problems. But we didn’t help ourselves.

“ Italy is a big game for us. It’s massive. But you can’t hide away, you must embrace the challenge...

"It’s about stepping up. We’ve got a younger group of players who must learn quickly what Test match rugby’s about."