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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 February, 2005, 17:45 GMT
France 18-24 Wales
France's Yann Delaigue (left) and Wales' Martyn Williams
France: (15) 18
Tries: Yachvili, Rougerie
Cons: Yachvili
Pens: Yachvili
Drops: Michalak
Wales: (6) 24
Tries: M Williams (2)
Cons: Jones
Pens: Jones (3)
Drops: Jones
Martyn Williams' two-try blitz early in the second half sparked a sensational Wales victory against France in Paris.

The home side were scintillating in the first period and quickly went over through Dimitri Yachvili and Aurelien Rougerie to lead 15-6 at the break.

But flanker Williams ignited a shock Welsh renaissance within six minutes of the restart.

Despite a drop-goal and ferocious French pressure, Stephen Jones' late penalty and drop-goal sealed the win.

Wales' third straight triumph sent them the top of the Six Nations table, two points clear of France and Ireland - who play England on Sunday - and keeps them on course for a potential Grand Slam.

France had set off at a thunderous pace at a packed Stade de France, and after only four minutes Yachvili emerged from behind a charged-up pack to dummy his way over for the first try, which he converted himself.

I didn't tell them anything at half-time because those players have stared down the barrel of a gun before
Wales coach Mike Ruddock

Rampant at times and running with devastating fluidity, the French scored again eight minutes later after some slick handling and a slip from Wales' Gavin Henson in midfield.

From a line-out on the left, France raced right, and Henson's gaffe, after a connection with Serge Betsen, allowed Yannick Jauzion to romp past en route to wing Rougerie's score in the corner.

The opening barrage over, a shell-shocked Wales clawed their way back into the match with a Jones penalty on 23 minutes.

But the enemy artillery immediately started up again and a surging run from centre Damien Traille set up a penalty for Yachvili.

Wales, to their credit, hung on to the flying French coat tails and Jones managed to slot a second penalty before the break.

But they were unable to make a mark on either the possession or territory statistics, with a series of anxious errors behind the gain line.

The second half opened with one side again dominating, but this time it was the red shirts of Wales slicing through the opposition.

The Welsh revival quickly put Williams over for a stunning try after good work from Jones and Rhys Williams, on at the break for skipper Gareth Thomas, who suffered a suspected broken thumb.

We should have killed them off in the first half but didn't and paid for it
France coach Bernard Laporte
No sooner had they kicked off than Wales were at it again, powering forward in droves before sending Williams in for his second try.

The visitors, unrecognisable from the first half, maintained their momentum but missed out on adding to the score when Henson's penalty on 55 minutes stayed out.

The frantic pace of the game slowed for a spell as both sides gathered themselves for the final push.

And it was France who broke the ceasefire with a drop-goal from fly-half Frederic Michalak, on for Yann Delaigue.

Jones immediately answered with three points for Wales, and as the clocked ticked into the last 10 minutes Jones sprang a drop-goal to extend the gap to six points.

Welsh nerves were fraying fast inside the final few minutes as France staged a series of nerve-jangling scrums on their line before a knock-on eased the pressure and referee Paul Honiss blew for a famous Welsh victory.

Coach Mike Ruddock's side face Scotland at Murrayfield on 13 March and Ireland in Cardiff on 19 March as they seek their first title since 1994.

France: J Laharrague; A Rougerie, Y Jauzion, D Traille, C Dominici; Y Delaigue, D Yachvili; S Marconnet, S Bruno, N Mas; F Pelous (capt), J Thion; S Betsen, Y Nyanga, J Bonnaire (Bourgoin).
Replacements: W Servat, O Milloud, G Lamboley, I Harinordoquy, P Mignoni, F Michalak, J-P Grandclaude.

Wales: G Thomas (capt); K Morgan, T Shanklin, G Henson, S Williams; S Jones, D Peel; G Jenkins, M Davies, A Jones; B Cockbain, R Sidoli; R Jones, M Williams, M Owen.
Replacements: R McBryde, J Yapp, J Thomas, R Sowden-Taylor, G Cooper, C Sweeney, R Williams.

Highlights: France 18-24 Wales

Interview: Wales coach Mike Ruddock

Interview: Wales' Stephen Jones

Interview: France defence coach Dave Ellis

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