FRANCE kept their Grand Slam hopes alive thanks to a first Six Nations win in Cardiff since 2010.

Fly-half Romain Ntamack starred for Les Blues during a thrilling encounter under the Principality Stadium roof.

Wales looked to take the game to France from the outset and a Dan Biggar penalty gave them the lead after four minutes.

But three minutes later and the hosts were behind, although it must be said the bounce of the ball was in France’s favour.

An up and under from Ntamack wasn’t gathered by Leigh Halfpenny and Anthony Bouthier couldn’t believe his luck as the ball dropped at his feet and he raced over.

Ntamack slotted the conversion.

Another kick, this time by scrum-half Antoine Dupont nearly led to a second French try.

Only skipper Alun Wyn Jones was back for Wales, but winger Teddy Thomas put a foot in touch as he collected the ball.

After George North went off for a head injury assessment, France did have more points on the board courtesy of an Ntamack penalty.

Biggar responded in kind following a long spell of kicking from one half to the other, and then a tackle off the ball on Taulupe Faletau.

The French looked a threat every time they attacked, and Les Blues thought it was try time again when Gael Fickou side-stepped his way over.

However, during a brilliant passage of play that led to the score Bouthier had delivered a forward pass to Thomas.

It was a close call but the right decision.

Minutes later, however, France scored a try that did count.

There was no debate about second row Paul Willemse’s touchdown, with the huge forward taking the ball off a lineout and brushing Johnny McNicholl aside to pile over.

Ntamack was on target again from the tee.

Trailing 17-6, Wayne Pivac’s men began to assert some sort of authority on a pulsating contest, even if the Shaun Edwards-drilled French defence was constantly in their faces.

A crazy period of play began with Biggar’s chip being collected by Nick Tompkins, the centre offloaded to Gareth Davies and he moved the ball left.

It came to nothing but with France caught offside, Biggar narrowed the deficit to eight points.

The visitors were then reduced to 14 as number eight Gregory Alldritt was sent to the bin for infringing in the shadow of his own posts.

Despite doing their best to take advantage of the situation, Wales just couldn’t break through a resolute French rearguard.

Wales needed a good start to the second half – and it couldn’t have been any better.

Tompkins was the architect of the hosts’ first try, making room for himself down the right flank and putting in a kick that forced Dupont to concede a lineout five metres from the French line.

The Welsh pack went hard at France and, after Ken Owens had tried his luck, Davies’ pass to Hadleigh Parkes was knocked on by the visitors and Dillon Lewis gathered to barrel over.

Biggar’s conversion made it a one-point game.

But as Wales tried to launch another attack at the whitewash they were undone.

Ntamack gambled on an interception as Wales moved the ball left, and the gamble paid off, with the fly-half going over unopposed. He also added the extras.

The French playmaker took his side’s lead out to 11 points just after the hour, nailing a long-range penalty following a sloppy piece of play by try scorer Lewis.

Pivac’s charges knew they had to score next to stand any chance of preserving their impressive home championship record.

And they might have had Willemse not knocked on when tackling Owens as the Welshman tried to deliver the try-scoring pass just metres from the French line.

Wales felt the knock-on was intentional, which could have led to a yellow card and penalty try, but the officials deemed it to be accidental, resulting in just a scrum for the hosts.

But there was still time for a comeback.

France’s pack were put under all sorts of pressure from the scrum, with prop Haouas seeing yellow and penalties going Wales’ way.

Despite being under all sorts of pressure, the French forwards earned their stripes by winning a penalty from the referee.

But still Wales pressed, and they gave themselves a glimmer of hope thanks to a Biggar try that required the approval of the TMO.

His conversion made it 27-23, and after France replacement Matthieu Jalibert missed a late penalty attempt, the home side staged a brave bid to snatch it.

On the last play of the game, Tompkins had the crowd on their feet with a scything run through the heart of the pitch.

Unfortunately for Wales, the centre held on too long and time was up.

Wales: Halfpenny; North, Tompkins, Parkes, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; W Jones, Owens, D Lewis, Ball, AW Jones (capt), Moriarty, Tipuric, Faletau. Reps: Elias, R Evans, Brown, Rowlands, Wainwright, T Williams, J Evans, McNicholl.

France: Bouthier; Thomas, Vakatawa, Vincent, Fickou; Ntamack, Dupont; Baille, Marchand, Haouas, Le Roux, Willemse, Cros, Ollivon (capt), Alldritt. Reps: Chat, Gros, Bamba, Taofifenua, Cretin, Serin, Jalibert, Ramos.