Wales are still in the running for a Six Nations title as they kept their hopes alive with a 20-13 victory over France in Paris on Saturday. Leigh Halfpenny kicked 15 points as Dan Biggar scored their only try, while France scored through Brice Dulin.
The win in Paris was Wales’ fourth consecutive victory over France, giving them hope that they can end the tournament on a high and claim another title, despite losing to England in their first outing.
Coach Warren Gatland has praised his team’s defence, particularly in the pack up front.
“We have a good record against France I thought the forwards were sensational. We scrummaged well, the line-out was good and I thought we deserved to win,” he said.
Gatland also said that the French-based Welsh players made a big difference on the day.
“I think the advantage was that our French-based players were able to give an insight into a number of the French players, having been team-mates or played against certain players,” he explained.
“I think for the Welsh players based over here in France it was probably as much them wanting to prove their worth and value and the reason why they are over here. In terms of that self-motivation, it was wanting to perform.
“I thought some of Jamie Roberts’s carrying was excellent, the goal-kicking of Leigh Halfpenny was potentially the difference, and Luke Charteris was outstanding defensively in line-outs and rucks. I thought there was an edge about those players, and they did a good job for us.
“It is a massive game for us at home against Ireland in a couple of weeks. Ireland are clinical at what they do – they don’t make a lot of mistakes,” he added.
French coach Philippe Saint-Andre said that his team need to get the basics of rugby right.
“You cannot spend the whole match defending, and it is very difficult to win with 50 per cent goal-kicking. We really need to work on the basic skills.
“Teams like Wales and Ireland know exactly how to play these type of games. We made some really sloppy mistakes, and with a goal-kicker like Leigh Halfpenny it meant it made it very difficult for ourselves.”