France overcome a brave Welsh side 9-8 to book a place in their third Rugby World Cup final in a dramatic clash at Eden Park on Saturday.
The French side did just enough but were given a helping hand when the Welsh had skipper Sam Warburton sent off for an illegal tackle on French wing Vincent Clerc in the 18th minute.
The remaining Welsh players battled valiantly but the French kicked into the corners to play a territory based game, a game plan the Welsh could not break down as the French did well to slow down any ball that Wales had.
The French loose forwards were inspirational, with Bonnaire and Dusautoir in almost every ruck, a job made easier when Wales lost their fetcher.
Both teams created early chances, but both teams gave away possession five metres out from the line.
Fly-half James Hook opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the 8th minute, but Wales were then forced into a change when prop Adam Jones had to be replaced by Paul James.
Scores were level again when Morgan Parra hit back with a penalty goal of his own in the 21st minute.
After Hook had missed a opportunity to take the lead again, a strong burst by brutal centre Jamie Roberts down the sideline opened up a chance and Hook kicked for Williams in the right hand corner. French winger Alexis Palisson was able to get there before his Welsh opponents to give his team a 22 drop out.
Morgan Parra then kicked France into the lead in the 34th minute with his second penalty goal and the teams went into the break with the French up 6-3.
Parra extended that lead to 9-3 in the 49th minute, so Gatland substituted James Hook for Stephen Jones to make his 103rd international appearance.
After some good Welsh pressure, Phillips scored the only try of the match brushing off tackles as he made his way to the line from 20m. Stephen Jones then missed the chance to reclaim the lead when he grazed the post with the conversion.
France persisted with their kicking game, and it kept Wales going backwards for most of the match.
With four minutes remaining Halfpenny had the chance to earn his side a place in the final, but there was heart break for Welsh fans as the kick was dead straight but fell under the bar by half a meter.
The Welsh went through numerous phases with time up on the clock, but they could not get in decent position to give Jones a chance of a drop goal.
Their chances were finally extinguished when Roberts knocked the ball on and Parra was able to clear for touch.
Pen: Parra 3