Six Nations: Victory over France will do wonders for Wales' confidence, says Leigh Halfpenny

Wales won 16-6 in Paris

Leigh Halfpenny is adamant Wales are back on track and heading in the right direction towards this year’s RBS 6 Nations Championship. Despite a lack-lustre first half performance against Ireland last week, Wales managed to regroup and emerge victorious from a scrappy affair in Paris.

The defending champions triumphed over the French 16-6 after 11 points from the boot of Halfpenny and a late George North try condemned Les Blues to their second defeat in as many games. They will now look forward to heading to Murrayfield and the Stadio Olimpico as favourites for the two matches, and despite a poor run of eight games without a win which came to an end on Saturday, Wales may very well face a showdown with England come March 16th in Cardiff.

“The confidence we will get from this win will be immense,” said Halfpenny. “We can concentrate now on what we set out to do from the start, which is to retain the title. We knew this game was key. It was my third time in Paris, and I know how difficult it is to get a win there, but the boys dug deep and had that hunger and desperation to win.”

It has been a long year for a Welsh side that hasn’t tasted victory since the Grand Slam was secured last March – again against France – that is now led by interim head coach Rob Howley, due to head coach Warren Gatland’s Lions responsibilities. For Howley, it is his first victory since taking the reins, and the win will have relieved the mounting pressure that will have undoubtedly been growing on his shoulders.

“I am really chuffed for Rob (Howley) and the coaches,” continued the Cardiff Blues full-back. “They gave us everything, all the information we need, then it is up to the guys on the field to put in a performance, and that’s what we did. When you go to France and win, it is special.”

Mike Phillips agreed that their performances of late have not been good enough, but the victory on Saturday is no less than they deserve for the effort they put in. He said: “We are a far better team than we have been showing, and it was fortunate we had another game so quickly after the previous Saturday to put things right.

“We were adamant we were going to do well in the first 20 minutes and not make another bad start. The body language of the French told us we were doing well. They were blowing and had their hands on their knees, and we knew if we could keep the tempo up we would take the sting out of their attack, even though we were blowing ourselves at times.”

Ultimately, it is a sense of relief flowing around the Wales camp this week, and with this monkey off their shoulders, they can look to get back to their title defence. “When you are in a losing team, you have got to expect criticism a little bit, but we knew we weren’t far off turning it around,” explained the scrum-half. “It’s a tough world, and in rugby one minute you are the hero and the next you’re rubbish, but you have got to be strong.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
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

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum