Six Nations: Wales beat France to maintain unbeaten record
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 27/02/16 7:53pm
Wales kept their Six Nations campaign on course with a 19-10 win over France at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Friday night.
Wales led 6-3 after a scrappy first half before a Dan Biggar penalty and George North try handed the hosts the win.
Talismanic captain Guilhem Guirado scored at the end to give the scoreline an element of respectability for France but it capped off another unconvincing performance from Guy Noves' men.
Wales have taken top spot in the Six Nations with two wins and a draw and only England - who play Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday - can catch them this weekend.
It was a superb night for man of the match Gareth Davies, who led the Welsh attack from scrum-half, but the most satisfied of all the coaches will be defence coach Shaun Edwards, as the whole team worked hard to repel the French for large portions of the second half.
The first half started in poor fashion as both sides tested the opposition defence in patches with nothing to show for it, and it was Wales who had the first scoring opportunity from the tee, but Biggar sent his kick wide.
Jules Plisson then matched Biggar's missed kick by pushing his first attempt to the right from far out, leaving the game scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
Biggar then sent two penalties over, and though Plisson replied with one of his own, Wales were starting to reveal themselves as favourites.
The closest try-scoring opportunity came from Wales as the first half drew to a close.
A Welsh scrum saw Davies break blind all the way into the French 22 where he was caught in possession, but he managed to put in a kick ahead which was chased by Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams. Virimi Vakatawa spilled the ball into the French in-goal area and Williams was within inches of scoring but Maxime Medard booted the ball out to end the danger.
Wales were awarded a scrum but could not score a try as the two sides went into the break with Wales 6-3 ahead.
The home side's intent was obvious from the outset in the second period as a midfield break from centre Jonathan Davies put Wales right under the French posts. A tip tackle from Jonathan Danty then gave Biggar a chance to further his side's lead from the tee, which he duly did.
Then came the Wales try. France were on the attack in the opposition half when Wales turned the ball over and Jonathan Davies kicked ahead. North went haring after it and actually managed to overrun it, but Plisson couldn't collect the ball behind North as he bobbled it ahead with his boot for North to gather and crash over. Biggar sent the conversion between the posts for a 16-3 lead inside 50 minutes.
What followed was a period where France were camped in the Welsh half with penalty after penalty, which they kept sending to the corner for a lineout. Eventually the Welsh defence managed to relieve the relenting attack, and when they were awarded a penalty in French territory, Biggar called for the kicking tee to make it a 19-3 lead.
The score killed off any chance of France winning the game, and though skipper Guirado scored with three minutes remaining, the visitors were forced to come away with their first loss of the campaign.