Alain Rolland (File)
Cardiff - Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said referee Alain Rolland "wrecked" Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final by sending off Wales captain Sam Warburton.
The Irish official dismissed the Cardiff Blues flank in the 19th minute for a 'tip tackle' on Vincent Clerc and France went on to win the clash 9-8 at Auckland's Eden Park, despite Wales scoring the only try of the match.
Jones, wearing a scarlet Wales rugby top, watched the action live at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where 61,543 fans followed the game on a giant screen.
"It was the wrong decision, it did wreck the game," he said.
"I thought Sam was unlucky. I thought it was a penalty - it was a clumsy tackle and a yellow card - but not a red card. The game was destroyed from that point on.
"It's not easy being a referee but I thought Alain Rolland got that wrong.
"But referees are human, they are not perfect and on this occasion it was the wrong decision, it did wreck the game but despite that the boys refused to lie down."
He said Welsh supporters would be proud of the team's efforts in New Zealand, where they matched their best-ever World Cup showing, having reached the last four in 1987.
"Obviously we are disappointed to lose by just one point," Jones said.
"But I am very proud of the boys for their performance.
He described the atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium as "fantastic".
"I don't think there is any other country in the world where you would get 60 000 fans turn up to watch the game on a big screen," he said.
"They will be disappointed but they will also be proud of what the team has achieved.
He said Wales's run to the semi-finals would stand the squad in good stead for the next edition in England.
"You look at this team and you think most of this team are going to be in their prime in four years' time and they will target 2015 as a World Cup to win," he said.
"It's bitter at the moment but I know that the team will build for the future following this defeat and they will be better because of it.
"I think we will have won a lot of friends. People will be very supportive of the efforts of the Welsh team and they have put Wales on the map."