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France reaches World Cup final, edges Wales 9-8

Updated: October 15, 2011, 05:48


AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) France squeaked into the Rugby World Cup final with a thrilling 9-8 win over a Wales side which threatened a miracle after its inspirational captain Sam Warburton was sent off on Saturday.

Wales looked to have buried itself when Warburton picked up France winger Vincent Clerc and dropped him dangerously in the 18th minute, while leading 3-0. Irish referee Alain Rolland sent off the skipper immediately, and just as quickly the muted crowd's sympathies swung to Wales.

The Welsh gave them plenty to cheer in Eden Park, with a terrific defense that forced 11 handling errors, held in the scrums, and, more importantly, stayed in touch with France on the scoreboard.

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