Wales 16 France 9

WALES have won their 11th Grand Slam after a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved victory over a France side who pushed them all the way.

In a tense final 20 minutes, it looked as through Les Bleus were going to gate crash the party but Wales held firm with some great defence.

This victory goes a long way to making up for Wales' desperately unlucky 9-8 defeat to France with just 14 men in the World Cup semi-final.

Wales dominated the first half but only led 10-3 at the interval through wing Alex Cuthbert's excellent individual try and a Leigh Halfpenny conversion and penalty to a Dimitri Yachvili penalty.

Wales should have been further ahead but Halfpenny and Rhys Priestland both struck the uprights with penalty attempts.

The home side were well on top in the first 40 minutes, executing a smart game plan, playing for territory with Priestland keeping the French pinned back.

Wales' forwards were outstanding - Newport Gwent Dragons blindside Dan Lydiate having a stormer - and put pressure on France's play maker scrum half Yachvili so that the visitors never really got going.

France came back into the game in the second half and a Lionel Beauxis penalty after 44 minutes put them right back in it.

Ryan Jones had an excellent game, coming on for Wales' injured captain and openside Sam Warburton who didn't return to field for the second half.

A Halfpenny penalty on 53 settled the nerves but Wales weren't out of the woods by a long way.

The usually formidable France number eight Imanol Harinordoquy had a real off day and he butchered a golden chance of a try with time running out, choosing to cut inside instead of passing with a man unmarked outside him.

Yachvili's 73rd minute penalty brought the score back to 13-9.

The tension was almost unbearable but a Halfpenny penalty with four minutes left gave Wales a seven point cushion.

Wales kept the ball from the re-start and ran the clock down and the party could begin.

Wales scorers: Try - Alex Cuthbert, Conversion - Leigh Halfpenny, Penalties - Halfpenny (3).

France scorers: Penalties - Dimitri Yachvili (2), Lionel Beauxis

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Star man: Dan Lydiate

Attendance: 74,178