Jones hails advent of Wales' new golden age

Wales 16 France 9

The Millennium Stadium

Seventies revivalists beware. Adam Jones may have a haircut which reminds of the perm of that era but he has had enough of that decade being thrown in his team's face. Like the majority in Wales, he wants this hat-trick of Grand Slams to draw a line. Move on, is the message. There is so much to see here.

The tighthead was his usual peerless self on Saturday, causing untold grief in the French scrum and prowling around like a nonchalant tiger waiting to pounce. When it came time to celebrate, Jones, Ryan Jones and Gethin Jenkins were the toast of a party which inevitably lasted most of the night and some of the morning. The trio had emulated Gerald Davies, JPR Williams and Gareth Edwards in winning three Grand Slams. Membership of that exclusive club comes with its rights.

"This means we can now put two fingers up to the pundits from the Seventies," said Jones, who was 24 when he first tasted the glory in 2005. "Some of them have given us a lot of crap in the past. We don't have to listen from now on. In fact, only JPR, Gerald and Gareth can slag me off any more. Because they're the only ones who have three Grand Slams – just like me."

Of course the comparisons will continue as claims are made of a new golden age. But as Warren Gatland, the wily Kiwi overseeing this sporting resurrection, was keen to point out, "different time, different eras; professional versus amateur". Added Gatland: "It would be interesting to see the teams of the Seventies playing South Africa, Australia and New Zealand every year."

Gatland was not being snide. He was simply noting how the benchmark of success has changed with globalism and professionalism. Gatland knows the Six Nations is no longer enough for Wales's expectant audience. There is an obvious step his men must take. And it will start on 12 June at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane where Wales face Australia in the first of two Tests.

"Our big aim is to be consistent in beating the southern hemisphere sides and we have a young enough side that over the next few years we can do that," said Gatland. "They have coped incredibly well. We have accepted the tag of favourites which has not always sat well on our shoulders. We have been down in games, but have learnt how to win ugly. In the past that would not have happened. That can only be good for us in the next few years."

There is beauty in rank ugliness; this joyous occasion proved that. France turned up to stop Wales playing – a rich compliment – and with the help of the pre-match downpour succeeded in that regard. But Philippe Saint-André's dogged old campaigners failed to live with the Welsh exuberance. Dan Lydiate was an absolute beast in the tackle, making at least three game-turning spine-crunchers.

The first enforced the turnover which led to Alex Cuthbert's try, the other two repelled the French just as they seemed set to break the defence. The blindside encapsulated a Welsh display of control, competence and composure. For so long they have been the missing pieces of the jigsaw.

And so the status of Northern Hemisphere kings will be laid bare in three months' time. This will be a summer tour of genuine importance and the only fear is the possible absence of the captain who yesterday was waiting to discover the severity of the shoulder injury which forced his half-time withdrawal. The anticipation for Australia has begun as they look forward to the 2015 World Cup in England and dare to believe rather than dream.

"We've got to really work hard now because this tour will be big," said Jones. "There is huge potential in this squad, but so much still to work on. Nothing seems to faze our young players. It's as if they are turning up to play for their youth team on a parks pitch – they are that good. The conditions out in Australia will be different, but maybe the hard grounds will suit our players. Well, some of us at least."

No, Jones wasn't built for the fast lane, but his presence going forward will be vital. If there is one area where Wales are lacking strength in depth it is at prop and the worry is if Jones and Jenkins are not around the potential might just remain that. The good news is that neither are planning to retire until after the World Cup. "Like everyone in Wales," said Jones. "We've been inspired by these youngsters."

So the mix looks set remain as potent as it is giddying. The Gallic hierarchy must look at the foundations put in place in Wales and then see the outrageous expediency in Saint-Andre's selection and wonder what France are working towards. That will remain a baffling question but there can be no doubt the Welsh are all singing off the same hymn sheet.

This evening, they will be honoured by the First Minster on the steps of the Senydd, the home of the Welsh Assembly and, once again Mervyn Davies, the iconic Seventies captain who passed away on Thursday, will be remembered. In so many ways, this celebration will be a fond farewell as well as to hail the arrival of the new Wales.

Scorers: Wales: Try: Cuthbert. Cons: Halfpenny. Pens: Halfpenny 3. France: Pens: Yachvili 2, Beauxis.

Wales: L Halfpenny (Blues); A Cuthbert (Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Dragons), S Warburton (Blues, capt), T Faletau (Dragons). Replacements: R Jones (Ospreys) for Warburton h-t; S Williams (Scarlets) for Davies 53-60; K Owens (Scarlets) for Rees 64, L Charteris (Dragons) for A-W Jones, 64, L Williams (Blues) for Phillips, 64.

France: C Poitrenaud (Toulouse); W Fofana (Clermont), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), F Fritz (Toulouse), A Palisson (Toulon); L Beauxis (Stade Francais), D Yachvili (Biarritz); J-B Poux (Toulouse), W Servat (Toulouse), D Attoub (Stade Francais), P Pape (Stade Francais), Y Maestri (Toulouse), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Clermont), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz). Replacements: J-M Buttin (Clermont) for Poitrenaud, 35; V Debaty (Clermont Auvergne) for Poux, 44; D Szarzewski (Stade Francais) for Servat 44; F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier) for Palisson, 53; L Picamoles (Toulouse) for Bonnaire, 53; J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne) for Pape, 68; M Parra (Clermont) for Beauxis, 72.

Referee: C Joubert (South Africa).

Match facts

Wales Points France

1 Tries 0

1/1 Conversions 0/0

3/5 Penalties 3/3

0/2 Drop goals 0/2

Phases of play

2/0 Scrums won/lost 1/0

14/3 Line-outs won/lost 9/1

10 Pens conceded 13

1 Mauls won 2

54 Ruck and drive 25

51 Ruck and pass 26

Team statistics

164 Passes completed 99

1 Line breaks 0

35 Possession kicked 32

1 Kicks to touch 10

69/7 Tackles made/missed 113/9

3 Offloads in tackle 6

9 Total errors made 16

Balls won

106 In open play 53

15 In opponents' 22 15

29 At set-pieces 20

3 Turnovers won 3

Six Nations

Results
France 30-12 Italy,
Scotland 6-13 England,
Ireland 21-23 Wales;
Italy 15-19 England,
Wales 27-13 Scotland;
Ireland 42-10 Italy,
England 12-19 Wales,
Scotland 17-23 France;
France 17-17 Ireland;
Wales 24-3 Italy,
Ireland 32-14 Scotland,
France 22-24 England;
Italy 13-6 Scotland,
Wales 16-9 France,
England 30-9 Ireland.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner