Wales take Grand Slam

The Wales team with the Grand Slam trophy
Wales have secured their third Grand Slam in eight years Photo: ITV Wales

Wales have secured another historic Grand Slam after beating France 16-9 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It's their third in eight years, and a win that is especially poignant for a game dedicated to former Wales captain and Lions star Mervyn Davies.

Before kick-off, players and fans from both sides observed a minute’s silence for the rugby legend, who died this week at the age of 65 following a long battle with cancer.

If their World Cup loss to France in Auckland last October wasn’t enough to fire up Welsh players as they took to the pitch, the memory of a hero affectionately nicknamed ‘Merv the Swerve’ certainly would have been.

But it was France who put the first points on the board with a penalty by half-back Dimitri Yachvili.

The move seemed to prompt a gear change in Wales, starting with a fantastic try from Alex Cuthbert, followed by a conversion and penalty by Leigh Halfpenny.

The difference in scores at half time would have been greater had Rhys Priestland not struck the post with an earlier penalty.

With Wales leading 10-3 as they entered the second half, there seemed little doubt how the tale would end.

However, Warren Gatland’s side resumed battle without their captain Sam Warburton, absent due to a shoulder injury – and France seized the opportunity, with a second penalty by Yachvili and one from Lionel Beauxis.

But they hadn’t bargained for full-back Leigh Halfpenny’s kicks. His 76th-minute strike settled the score once and for all.

By sweeping this season's Six Nations honours board, many would argue Wales have avenged that devastating World Cup loss against France.

And no doubt Mervyn Davies, who himself led Wales to the 1976 Five Nations Grand Slam, would be brimming with pride at the performance of Warren Gatland’s young stars.