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BBC Sport's Ian Robertson
"France will rue so many squandered chances"
 real 14k

Wales' record-breaking Neil Jenkins
"The clock couldn't go quickly enough"
 real 14k

Wales coach Graham Henry
"We needed a win and we got it"
 real 14k

Wales try-scorer Rob Howley
"My heart can't take much more of that"
 real 14k

banner Saturday, 17 March, 2001, 16:27 GMT
Four-try Wales stun France in Paris
Robert Howley (r) scored a scintillating solo try
Robert Howley (r) scored a scintillating solo try
France 35-43 Wales

Wales secured their first win of the competition and second consecutive victory in Paris in a scintillating Six Nations clash at the Stade de France.

After a dismal first half-hour, Wales were sparked into life by a superb 80-yard try from Robert Howley just before the break.

Further tries from Scott Quinnell and Dafydd James kept Wales in the game, before Neil Jenkins dived over in the dying seconds to seal a memorable Welsh victory.

Before the match, questions had arisen regarding Graham Henry's true coaching ability, ahead of this summer's tour with the Lions.

Scott Quinnell was a mighty force for Wales
Scott Quinnell was a mighty force for Wales
Those disappeared quickly in the second half, however, as the red shirts dispelled numerous French attacks and Jenkins, Howley and Quinnell surely booked themselves tickets to Australia with some marvellous individual performances.

That said, the visitors started poorly and the mistakes continued when Scott Gibbs' attempted loop pass was collected by Gerald Merceron, who fed Sebastien Bonetti to run in underneath the posts.

Merceron slotted the conversion, before pushing his side 10 points ahead with a penalty.

Indeed, it took the best part of 15 minutes for Henry's men to get onto the scoreboard.

Jenkins, who passed 1000 international points with his tally of 28 during the match, reduced the deficit with a 30-yard penalty.

But Merceron replied immediately after Wales were blown up for diving over.

French flair

The difference in pace between the two sides was evident from the start.

With the ball in hand, France were able to find clear gaps and only some brave Welsh defence prevented a second try, though they could not stop another penalty when Alan Lewis blew up for offside.

Jenkins replied, however, with two quick penalties, before needlessly allowing France to add another three points.

At 19-9 Wales looked out of the game. But then came another moment of magic from the Quinnell-Howley partnership.

The Llanelli skipper picked up from the back on the scrum inside his 22, broke one tackle and fed Howley who sprinted the length of the field for a glorious breakaway try.

Even the home support could do little but stand and applaud. At 19-16 Wales were back in the game.

The Dragon roars

Seconds after the break, France replaced Merceron with Christophe Lamaison, but this time it was Wales who touched over first.

A superb break by Gibbs was kept alive superbly by outside centre Mark Taylor. The Swansea maestro popped the pass to Quinnell who touched down underneath the posts.

Jenkins made no mistake and after Lamaison had added a penalty for France, slotted a huge drop-goal from inside his own half to restore the Welsh lead.

Dafydd James helped keep Wales in the match with his try
Dafydd James helped keep Wales in the match with his try
Henry's men looked a different side to the team who started so poorly, and their next try came with frightening ease after some outlandish midfield play.

Stephen Jones replaced Gibbs at inside centre and immediately proved his worth when he fed Quinnell on the break, for Dafydd James to finish off the move underneath the posts.

Jenkins added the extras to push his side into an 11 point lead.

But the reply from France was equally impressive. A break by Fabien Galthiť was kept alive by Jean-Luc Sadourny who found Bernat-Salles in space on the right.

The conversion and a further quick penalty reduced the deficit to just one, but at 32-33 it set up a superb final quarter.

France again looked rampant, and had it not been for a superb tackle by Geraint Lewis - who had earlier replaced Colin Charvis- on Lombard, France would have taken the lead.

It ultimately proved inevitable, however, and arrived seconds later when Lamaison added a further three points after Wales were penalised for dropping a scrum.

With under 10 minutes to go there was little between the sides. But it was kicking-maestro Jenkins who restored the Welsh lead in the closing minutes thanks to a second dropgoal.

The visiting fans breathed a sigh of relief and even moreso when Bernat-Salles' jink-kick was charged down for Jenkins to dive over and secure their first, but richly deserved, win of the competition.


Teams - France: J-L Sadourny (Colomiers); P Bernat-Salles (Biarritz), S Bonetti (Biarritz), T Lombard (Stade Francais), C Dominici (Stade Francais); G Merceron (Montferrand), F Galthie (Colomiers); C Califano (Toulouse), R Ibanez (Castres), P de Villiers (Stade Francais), D Auradou (Stade Francais), F Pelous (Toulouse, capt), C Moni (Stade Francais), O Magne (Montferrand), C Juillet (Stade Francais).
Replacements: F Landreau (Stade Francais), S Marconnet (Stade Francais), L Nallet (Bourgoin), S Betsen (Biarritz), P Carbonneau (Pau), C Lamaison (Agen), P Elhorga (Agen).

Wales: R Williams (Cardiff), G Thomas (Cardiff), M Taylor (Swansea), S Gibbs (Swansea), D James (Llanelli), N Jenkins (Cardiff), R Howley (Cardiff), D Morris (Swansea), R McBryde (Llanelli), D Young (Cardiff,capt), I Gough (Newport), A Moore (Swansea), C Charvis (Swansea), M Williams (Cardiff), S Quinnell (Llanelli).
Replacements: A Lewis (Cardiff), C Anthony (Swansea), C Quinnell (Cardiff), G Lewis (Swansea), G Cooper (Bath), S Jones (Llanelli), A Bateman (Northampton).

Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)

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See also:

17 Mar 01 |  Six Nations
Scots survive Italian scare
17 Mar 01 |  Picture Gallery
France v Wales - in pictures
18 Mar 01 |  Wales
Jenkins urged not to quit
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