WARREN GATLAND planned his goodbyes until never-say-die Wales kept his side two wins from World Cup glory.
Ross Moriarty’s late try sealed a 20-19 win over France to book a semi-final against South Africa.
3 Gatland's men were on the verge of eliminationCredit: Reuters
3 A late try completed a memorable comebackCredit: AP:Associated Press
Gats tore up his farewell speech and headed for Tokyo, not Cardiff.
The coach said: “I went through lots of different emotions. What am I going to say to the media?
“What will I say on the TV? You are thinking of those potential scenarios. So I’m really proud of how we hung in there.
“We are excited about where we are — the semi-final of a World Cup.
“Alun Wyn Jones said beforehand it’s 240 minutes to do something you will remember for the rest of your life. We’re down to 160 minutes now.
“If you can’t get excited about that, nothing will excite you.
“But, the better team lost. We just hung in there and showed some real character.
“I’m proud of the boys because lesser teams would have capitulated.
“We’ll just go back, recover and travel to Tokyo. We’ll probably have a quiet night tonight.”
Yet France felt they were robbed as Moriarty’s winner came off a controversial scrum.
Wales’ pack, led by inspirational skipper Jones on his 141st Test, put the shove on Les Bleus.
As they went back, sub scrum-half Tomos Williams ripped the ball off flanker Charles Ollivon, before Justin Tipuric pounced and Moriarty cleaned up from a yard.
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France coach Jacques Brunel said: “I think the ball went forward to the player that caught it.
“In a quarter-final when playing with 14 men for half the match, it is difficult, but I want to stress our quality. We showed courage. The outcome is difficult to accept.”
Wales wing George North admitted it was a smash-and-grab victory, adding: “That was nowhere near our best.”
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