Wales have lifted the RBS 6 Nations 2012 Trophy – and a fantastic Grand Slam – after resisting long spells of French pressure to win 16-9 over France at Millennium Stadium.
Young winger, Cuthbert touched down on 22 minutes for Wales following a slightly nervous opening quarter. That try was converted, and a penalty apiece for each team meant Wales came in at half time leading 10-3.
But France came out fighting in the second half, and soon reduced the deficit to 4 points, when they kicked a penalty following good work with ball in hand.
Another opportunity, this time a drop goal attempt from right in front, came France’s way, but was skewed wide, before Leigh Halfpenny kicked a 52 metre penalty to draw an important 7 points clear at 13-6, somewhat against the run of play.
But France were not playing with any fluency – primarily as a result of the stern tackling of Wales forwards, in particular, man of the match Dan Lydiate, the flanker, who produced some phenomenal hits.
France did threaten in the final ten minutes, though, when more good pressure led to a penalty right in front. They again reduced the margin to four points, with just over six minutes remaining, meaning a try would see them spoil Wales’ party.
But moments later more Welsh commitment at the breakdown led to another penalty for Wales – they had hit the upright with two in the first half – which, this time, Halfpenny slotted to restore the lead to 7 points.
This lead would stick, as Wales’ forwards – deservedly so – were able to win the match with phase after grueling phase.
The story of Wales’ Grand Slam has been the addition of tries to an already solid pack. This has been aided a tremendous amount by the fact they have been able to name the same back line in every single RBS 6 Nations match.
While the Grand Slam was finished in Millennium Stadium, here, against France, it was certainly won in Dublin and London, where Wales threw off the demons of the past couple of seasons to come through the sternest of tests in what has been an incredibly close and enthralling tournament from first to last.
Wales have been brilliant at times, but, above all, they have been disciplined and professional. Finally, for Welsh fans, this team which has for so long promised so much, is delivering week in, week out.
A fully deserved and most impressive Grand Slam.