France 6 Wales 16
WALES’ long wait for a Test victory ended in Paris this evening with George North’s late try earning a Six Nations success against France.
It was a dour game in the Stade de France but that won’t bother coach Rob Howley and his team after they ended their eight-game losing streak.
There was little to choose between the sides in an error-strewn, pedestrian encounter until North won the race to a Dan Biggar chip through on 71 minutes.
Leigh Halfpenny’s conversion made it 13-6 and when the full-back sent over a booming penalty the win was Wales’, much to the disgust of the home crowd who had been hoping that their side would fire back following their shock defeat to Italy on opening weekend.
Wales had spent the week talking of making a rapid start following their first half debacle against Ireland.
They didn’t exactly come flying out of the blocks but they would have been happy to go to the changing rooms on level terms after an insipid half, especially given that they had trailed 23-3 at the same stage in round one.
There was little to report other than a few powerful French driving lineouts and some hard-running Welsh charges.
Frederic Michalak booted the hosts into a 14-minute lead only for Leigh Halfpenny to swiftly respond and that was that until the second half.
It didn’t take Wales long to move their tally along, Halfpenny bisecting the posts after 42 minutes, and they would have been just as pleased to hear jeers ring out when France replacement Francois Trinh-Duc botched a drop goal when Les Bleus were well-placed in the 22.
But the jeers turned to cheers when Michalak levelled with another penalty earned by their dominant scrum and it stayed 6-6 entering the final quarter.
And with both sides playing nervously, it took a moment of magic from Biggar and North to settle matters.
Wales scorers: try – G North; conversion – L Halfpenny; penalties – L Halfpenny (3)
France scorers: penalties – F Michalak (2)
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