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By Sean Davies

Shane Williams scores his record-breaking try
Williams became his country's all-time leading try scorer
Wales (9) 29
Tries: S Williams, M Williams
Cons: S Jones (2)
Pens: Hook (3), S Jones (2)

France (6) 12
Pens: Elissalde (3), Yachvili

Wales completed their transformation from World Cup flops to secure their second Grand Slam in four years and send the nation into raptures.

An early 9-3 lead was whittled away by France after Gavin Henson's sin-binning on the stroke of half-time.

But Shane Williams got the crucial score on 60 minutes, becoming Wales' all-time top try scorer in the process.

Stephen Jones's steady hand from the bench helped them home, with the superb Martyn Williams adding a second try.

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Highlights: Wales 29-12 France

France entered the game having not lost a championship game in Cardiff since 1996 and needing a 20-point win to steal the RBS Six Nations title from Wales.

606: DEBATE

But with the packed crowd brewing the enclosed Millennium Stadium into a fervent cauldron of expectation, Wales were spurred into early action.

From turnover ball in midfield, James Hook created space for Mark Jones down the right with a magical sleight of hand.

A try was begging, but Jones could not find Lee Byrne on his inside shoulder and the home side had to be content with an opening penalty from Hook.

Woeful French kicking - with David Skrela the main culprit - and direct midfield running from Tom Shanklin and Henson increased the pressure, but Hook missed a tricky penalty chance.

The players have got stronger, mentally and physically

Wales coach Warren Gatland

The fly-half made amends with an 18th-minute kick, cancelled out by a Jean-Baptiste Elissalde penalty following Ryan Jones's untidy work at the restart.

The gift-giving from restarts continued, Thierry Dusautoir's error allowing Hook to ease the Wales lead back out to 9-3 with his third penalty.

Les Bleus finally began to find a foothold in the Wales half, until an outstanding on-the-floor steal from man-of-the-match Martyn Williams relieved some of the pressure.

Wales' blitz defence finally showed flaws in the final play of the half, and - with France already playing a penalty advantage - Henson's head-high tackle on Fulgence Ouedraogo led to a yellow card for the centre.

Shane Williams scores his record-breaking try
Williams became his country's all-time leading try scorer

Elissalde slotted the final kick of the half to cut the gap to three points, Hook missing an opportunity to cancel that out after the break when Shane Williams pinned the counter-attacking Vincent Clerc deep in his own 22.

Then Elissalde made no mistake with his third penalty to level the scores, the visitors scoring six points in Henson's absence.

Ian Gough was winning his 50th cap for Wales, and he was joined on that landmark by Duncan Jones who temporarily stepped off the bench following a head injury to Gethin Jenkins.

Wales coach Warren Gatland decided to replace Hook at fly-half, Stephen Jones coming off the bench along with hooker Matthew Rees for Huw Bennett.

It was a France mistake that hurt the visitors, though, Yannick Jauzion spilling an unsympathetic pass from Skrela 40 yards from his own line.

Shane Williams pounced, hacking through and showing composure to ground for the try after the ball bounced off the post, taking him clear of Clerc as the 2008 tournament's leading try scorer, and ahead of Gareth Thomas on 41 in Wales' all-time list.

France coach Marc Lievremont changed his half-backs, but it was Stephen Jones who got the next score, a penalty stretching the lead to 19-9.

The visitors were pushed off an attacking five-metre scrum by the Welsh eight, but any thought that the game was won was dispelled by Dimitri Yachvili's 71st-minute penalty.

Stephen Jones immediately replied with a long-range goal of his own to restore the comfort zone.

There are many positives, a good spirit that bodes well for the future of France

France coach Marc Lievremont

Mark Jones was narrowly denied the chance of immortality, breaking from near his own line and embarking on a dazzling run only to be hauled down inches short of a memorable score.

It was left to Martyn Williams to crown the day, the flanker picking up from a ruck 25-yards out and dashing home through a ragged defence.

Wales' 10th Grand Slam was secured 100 years after they won their first, and home fans left to carry on the party of the century.

Watch the match in full on BBC iPlayer for seven days from Sunday (UK users only)


Wales: Byrne, M. Jones, Shanklin, Henson, S. Williams, Hook, Phillips, Jenkins, Bennett, A. Jones, Gough, A. Jones, Thomas, M. Williams, R. Jones.
Replacements: S. Jones for Hook (56), Rees for Bennett (56), D. Jones for A. Jones (71), Evans for Gough (71). Not Used: Delve, Peel, Parker.

Sin Bin: Henson (40).

France: Floch, Clerc, Jauzion, Traille, Malzieu, Skrela, Elissalde, Barcella, Szarzewski, Mas, Nallet, Thion, Dusautoir, Ouedraogo, Bonnaire.
Replacements: Heymans for Floch (67), Trinh-Duc for Skrela (63), Yachvili for Elissalde (67), Servat for Szarzewski (44), Poux for Mas (62), Mela for Thion (75), Vermeulen for Ouedraogo (62).

Att: 75,000.

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa).


see also
How Wales won the Grand Slam
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations photos
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
England 33-10 Ireland
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy 23-20 Scotland
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations as it happened
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
31 Dec 07 |  Wales
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh


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