Six Nations: George North's try gives Wales victory in France
Last Updated: 10/02/13 7:33am
Wales ended an eight-match losing run and handed France their second straight defeat of the RBS Six Nations with a 16-6 victory in Paris.
George North's 72nd-minute try proved decisive after both sides had struggled to create much during a defence-dominated contest.
Leigh Halfpenny kicked three penalties and a conversion, while France - who lost to Italy last weekend - mustered only a pair of Frederic Michalak penalties.
The match was locked at 6-6 until North's late intervention, the wing scooped up Dan Biggar's kick to touch down in the left corner.
Wales, who did the grand slam last year, travel to Italy in two weeks' time with their title defence back on track. France's next two assignments are away to England and Ireland.
Wales, led by Ryan Jones in the absence of the injured Sam Warburton, enjoyed 60 per cent of possession and 65 per cent territory during the first half but rarely threatened the try line.
France's first foray out of their own half on 15 minutes ended with Michalak opening the scoring with a long-range penalty, awarded for a scrum infringement.
Full-back Halfpenny responded in kind three minutes later with a more straightforward kick from in front of the posts after the French pack killed the ball at a ruck.
Yohan Huget wasted a try-scoring chance on 20 minutes. The France full-back ignored an overlap to go solo for the line and came up well short.
Wales set up an attacking position from a five-metre lineout as half-time approached only for France to come up with turnover ball.
France were booed off at half-time and came back with a reshuffled backline. Francois Trinh-Duc replaced Benjamin Fall, with Huget moving onto the wing and Trinh-Duc slotting in at full-back.
Mike Phillips made a break straight up the middle to give Wales early field position in the second half and France were soon guilty of being off their feet at a ruck, allowing Halfpenny to add his second penalty and edge the visitors ahead for the first time.
France got back on level terms when Wales were penalised for hauling down a scrum, Michalak doing the honours from his two-step run-up.
The score remained 6-6 until eight minutes from time when Wales made the decisive move.
Stand-off Biggar dinked his kick over the onrushing defenders and North was able to pick up and touch down in the left corner, narrowly avoiding being dragged into touch before he got the ball down.
Halfpenny landed the conversion from the touchline and added a penalty for extra insurance three minutes later as Wales comfortably closed out their first win at the Stade de France since 2005 and biggest margin of victory in Paris for 38 years.