Wales won their second Grand Slam and Six Nations title in four seasons after record-breaker Shane Williams struck gold at the Millennium Stadium to help Warren Gatland’s men to a 29-12 victory over France.
Sportinglife reports that wing wizard Williams’ 60th-minute touchdown was his 41st for Wales, putting him above Gareth Thomas as his country’s all-time highest Test try scorer.
And it made a telling difference in an attritional contest dominated by kickers and defences, before flanker Martyn Williams added a late try to cap a superb display.
James Hook kicked three penalties, while his replacement Stephen Jones slotted two conversions and two penalties, rendering France scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde’s penalty hat-trick and a late Dimitri Yachvili strike irrelevant.
Wales’ clean sweep ensured a stunning start for Gatland, who only took over the top job last December after a World Cup flop when Wales failed to reach the knockout stages.
But less than six months on from the misery of a World Cup exit at the hands of Fiji, Wales are kings of Europe.
Wales captain Ryan Jones told BBC1: “It is absolutely amazing. We talked all along about people having dreams – and what bigger memories than this!
“We have defended superbly, and that is what has won us the championship.”
Flanker Martyn Williams added: “It is an unbelievable feeling. Thirty or 40 people have worked so hard for this, and the crowd were unbelievable again.
“We had to dig deep in the first half, especially.”
Wales coach Gatland reflected on a job well done.
“At the end of the day, it is all about the players,” he said.
“They are the ones who have a job to do for 80 minutes.
“A lot of those players have had it pretty tough for the last six or 12 months. When they get the reward, they deserve the recognition.
“To have only conceded two tries in this competition makes this Grand Slam thoroughly deserved.”
France coach Marc Lievremont admitted his team could not respond to Wales’ performance during the closing quarter.
He said: “I congratulate Wales for their victory and their Grand Slam.
“For an hour, France were very brave but we couldn’t find the solution against a very strong Welsh defence.
“The turning point of the match was the Shane Williams counter-attack and try after 60 minutes.
“The result wasn’t known until then, but I found the score of 29-12 very heavy against us.Tweet