Wales beat France 27-6 to keep 6 Nations hopes alive

Wales put their defeat at the hands of Ireland behind them on Friday, beating France 27-6 at the Millennium Stadium to keep their 6 Nations title hopes alive.

Gatland: Players 'redeemed themselves' in France win

Warren Gatland has hailed his Wales players' performance against France in the Millennium Stadium, after the reigning Six Nations champions beat France 27-6.

The win came after a disappointing 26-3 defeat to Ireland in Dublin two weeks ago.

"Even though there was a lot of criticism out there and people calling for wholesale changes, I'm a great believer in sometimes giving players the chance to redeem themselves and I think that's definitely what happened," said Gatland.

Meanwhile Wales Backs coach Shaun Edwards, said: "I think that's four games we've not conceded a try against them (France) and I think a lot of it's down to fear."

Edwards also paid tribute to the work Forwards coach Robin McBryde has done on Wales' maul.

In the post match press conference, McBryde said: "We got our house in order, basically, and they came back strong.

"I think it was a lesson against Ireland, you can't rely on reputation alone. The character of who you are, that's really the most important thing."

Six Nations: Wales 27 - 6 France

Sam Warburton stretches out to score a try Credit: PA

Tries in each half by centre George North and captain Sam Warburton gave Wales a record Six Nations victory over France and put their bid for an unprecedented title hat-trick firmly back on track.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny kicked 17 points, and all France could muster were penalties from half-backs Jean-Marc Doussain and Jules Plisson as their Grand Slam hopes were destroyed.

Les Bleus also saw forwards Nicolas Mas and Louis Picamoles sin-binned during the second period as Wales bounced back emphatically from their heavy defeat to Ireland last time out.

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Six Nations: Wales 20-6 France

George North scores a try Credit: PA

Wales' six nations match against France has got off to a good start.

They stormed eight points clear inside six minutes through a Leigh Halfpenny penalty and a George North try.

Halfpenny opened the scoring through a 48-metre strike, before Wales attacked from deep via Halfpenny and wing Liam Williams before North capitalised on defensive hesitancy between France full-back Brice Dulin and scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain to pounce for the touchdown.

Halfpenny missed the conversion attempt, but he quickly made amends by landing another long-range penalty and Wales could reflect on a dream start, leading 11-0 after just nine minutes.

France looked as though they had cut the deficit when wing Yoann Huget danced his way over Wales' line, but play was called back following a knock-on by Les Bleus skipper Pascal Pape as he tackled Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland, and the home side escaped.

It was a breathless opening, but France needed to establish a foothold in the game, and they opened their account through a Doussain penalty.

Jenkins: 'We need to step-up' ahead of French clash

Jenkins says the players were "upset" with their performance against Ireland. Credit: PA

Gethin Jenkins is eager to prove the doubters wrong when Wales take on France at the Millennium Stadium tonight.

Wales - the reigning Six Nations champions - suffered a comprehensive defeat to Ireland 13 days ago to leave their title hopes in the balance ahead of the visit by the undefeated French.

This week's build-up has been dominated by Wales coach Warren Gatland delivering a no-nonsense reminder to his players about the standards required.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips has been axed in favour of Rhys Webb and Jenkins is in no doubt that the experienced men in the dressing room need to step up.

Cardiff Blues prop Jenkins said, "There are a lot of words being said, but we just need to get out there and perform now. There are a lot of boys upset with the way we performed (against Ireland) and we know we can do better.

"We (the senior men) are the ones leading the team, we are the ones who drive the standards, who drive training, and when things go wrong the pressure comes on to us because we are the ones leading it. You wouldn't have it any other way.

"We've obviously had a good look at ourselves, and this week has been about building again. We are still in the tournament, and we have still got to aim for four out of five wins."

North will "cause havoc" in his position against France say team mate. Credit: PA

Webb for Phillips apart, Gatland has also recalled fit-again lock Luke Charteris, while 37 times-capped wing George North makes his first start as a Test centre. North's battle opposite French midfield powerhouse Mathieu Bastareaud promises to have a major bearing on Friday's outcome.

North is backed to make his mark by regular wing partner Alex Cuthbert who says,"I think he is going to cause havoc at 13.

"A lot of people have been writing us off this week, but we've been concentrating on ourselves and nothing outside."

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Wales prepare for Six Nations clash against France

Captain Sam Warburton says his side are desperate to put on a good performance against France. Credit: PA

Wales take on France tonight in their Six Nations match in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Their defeat to Ireland was their heaviest in 32 tests in the competition since Warren Gatland took charge.

In preparation for their clash against the French side, the head coach has made three changes to his Wales team, including dropping Mike Phillips. Meanwhile, the Ospreys' Rhys Webb will earn his first start at scrum half.

Wales will need to win to keep alive their hopes of keeping their Six Nations title for an historic third time in succession.

Read: Wales team to face France in Six Nations named