Six Nations: George North says victory over France will put Wales back in title fight
Last Updated: 15/02/14 10:58pm
George North in action in Wales' Six Nations defeat to Ireland
Wales wing George North says victory over France on Friday night will reignite their Six Nations title bid.
The Welsh were given a hiding in Dublin last weekend, a major setback in their attempt to become the first team to win three straight Six Nations crowns.
But they won the title last year despite losing their opening game - and it was victory over the French that put their 2013 season back on track.
The Northampton and Lions winger said: "I am a big believer in sides being judged on how they react to a setback, and the game against France is a chance to show how we can bounce back.
"It's a sign of a good side to turn things around and bounce back, and that is what we need to do. We need to react next week - the defeat was a massive disappointment.
"In Wales, we have massive pride in rugby, and as players we are all really disappointed.
"We met back up at the start of this week and the defeat was still ripe in the boys' memory, but we reflected and had a few meetings to review the performance (in Dublin).
"When you lose, you look at your performance with a fine toothcomb and target the areas you need to work on. As a squad that is what we have done, we have reviewed it and put things in place and begun our preparation for France.
"It is important to remember that we proved last year that defeat doesn't mean it's all lost," North added.
"We have a lot to play for. We have made it more difficult for ourselves, but we have to knuckle down, keep working as hard as ever and focus on what we can do.
"We have lost just two of our last 12 games in the competition, so our form has been good overall. We were outplayed last week, but we know how to come back and know what needs to be done."
North scored the decisive try when Wales toppled France 16-6 a year ago, yet Les Bleus look a better team this year, beating England and Italy in Paris this season.
"France will be a huge challenge," North said. "They have started really well with two wins from two and are looking good.
"They have got a big pack and a big scrum which showed up well against Italy last week, and their back-line is firing as well.
"(Centres) Mathieu Bastareaud and Wesley Fofana are both on form at the moment and the back-three are looking sharp and running in tries as well.
"There is nothing like the Six Nations to bring out big performances, and that is what we need on Friday.
"It's going to be a great atmosphere in Cardiff - there is nowhere better to play - and an evening kick-off will just add to the atmosphere.
"Obviously, the fans will be as disappointed as we are with last week, but when they get behind us on Friday it will be a huge lift to the team and will help us kick on in this Six Nations.
"It's all about pushing on from here, and that starts against France."