Sir Clive Woodward hails 'best ever' Wales win in Paris

George North celebrates with his Wales team-mates as they beat France 16-6 in the Six Nations at the Stade de France
George North celebrates with his Wales team-mates as they beat France 16-6 in the Six Nations at the Stade de France

Sir Clive Woodward has hailed Wales' victory over France in Paris as "one of the best ever Welsh victories".

Wales ended an eight-match losing streak with their 16-6 win over France at the Stade de France on Saturday.

A George North try and the boot of Leigh Halfpenny proved to be the difference as Wales recorded their first win in Paris since 2005.

A week earlier, former England World Cup-winning coach Woodward acknowledged Wales faced a "huge ask" in Paris.

"This is one of the best ever Welsh victories," said Woodward on the BBC's red button commentary after Saturday's match.

"To come here (Paris) and win on the back of so much pressure is just an amazing result."

Grand Slam champions Wales had lost their Six Nations opener and had been roundly criticised after the 30-22 defeat to Ireland at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales' last victory over a Test nation was against France to clinch the 2012 Grand Slam in Cardiff, but since then they have failed to record a win in the Test arena.

For Rob Howley, the interim Wales coach, while Warren Gatland is on British and Irish Lions duty, this was his first victory over a Test nation.

Howley was in charge when Wales beat the Barbarians 30-21 at the Millennium Stadium in June 2012.

Woodward, who masterminded England's World Cup win in 2003 and was the last England coach to win a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2003, paid tribute to a dogged defensive display by Wales.

"It was sheer guts," said Woodward.

"This is why rugby is such a great game."

Wales and France had come into this clash, having both lost their opening games with France suffering a shock 23-18 defeat to Italy in Rome.

Woodward expressed his delight for Howley and Shaun Edwards, the Wales defence coach, after their recent run of defeats and the criticism that had come their way.

Wales reached the 2011 World Cup semi-finals and won the 2012 Six Nations Grand Slam, achievements that Woodward highlighted.

"Wales have not become a bad team overnight," said Woodward.

"I was there in New Zealand when they made the semi-finals and the Grand Slam, it's just results haven't gone their way.

"To come here (Paris), with all the pressure against a French team which was really under the cosh as well and to defend and show that courage is just fantastic.

"It was a great night for Welsh rugby."

Wales, who are now third in the 2013 Six Nations table, travel to face Italy in Rome for their next game on Saturday, 23 February.

Top Stories