Dan Biggar (right) set up George North's crucial try
Wales got back to winning ways at the Stade de France on Saturday as George North's late try guided them to a 6-16 win in their RBS 6 Nations encounter with France.
With England the only side unbeaten after two rounds of this year's competition, Wales' defence of their 2012 crown now looks altogether more feasible ahead of trips to Italy and Scotland and a tantalising meeting with England in Cardiff.
Leigh Halfpenny added three penalties and a conversion to seal the win for Rob Howley's side in a much improved performance by the men in red.
And prompted by Mike Phillips and Dan Biggar at halfback, Wales ground out a vital win which will see them travel to Rome a week on Saturday in confident mood.
Amid a number of impressive performances, Phillips' physicality suited the game perfectly. The scrum half was at his spiky best as he took on a physical French pack. It seems les Bleus bring out the best in the Bayonne man as he probed around the base of the ruck, a constant menace to the opposition back row.
One early break set up a great platform for the Welsh forwards and although the ball was knocked on in contact a few phases later, Phillips' intent was clear.
With the game dominated by the contact area on a poor pitch, Phillips' aggressive intent was exactly what Wales needed and another clean break just seconds after the break caught the French napping.
The former Ospreys man could have been pleased with his performance after leaving the pitch to be replaced by Lloyd Williams with little less than 10 minutes remaining.
Another Wales man, who still calls the Liberty Stadium home, also enjoyed a solid performance. Given the injury to Rhys Priestland, Dan Biggar looks set for a run as Wales' first choice fly half and he showed plenty of signs in Paris that he is more than capable of running a game for his country.
Biggar's sublime chip through for North's late try not only won the game for Wales but was also the one moment of pure class in a game dominated by the boot and forward battle.
There were other positive signs. A huge clearance kick gave Wales field position deep inside the French half from where Halfpenny put his side's first points on the board while when the ball did go wide, Biggar's confident hands were always looking to release the likes of North and fellow wing Alex Cuthbert.
In a game where the score was locked at 6-6 for most of the second half, the halfbacks' control of the game was vital and Phillips and Biggar both stood up to be counted.
Like the rest of the Wales side, they will now be eagerly looking ahead to the clash in Rome a week on Saturday.
We look ahead to the French tests in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We look ahead to Wales France with Warren Gatland, Sam Warburton, Scott Baldwin, Rhys Webb and Jonathan Davies. Wales Women are the only team in red still unbeaten in this Six Nations, we speak to captain Rachel Taylor. Wales U20 are looking bounce back from defeat in Scotland, we hear from coach Jason Strange, captain Rory Thornton and front rower Dillon Lewis.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Reaction from Scotland and a special focus on Welsh Women's rugby in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Wales captain Sam Warburton and coach Warren Gatland, as well as Wales U20 reaction from forwards coach Geraint Lewis, along with Josh Adams and Olly Griffiths. There is also a special focus on Welsh Women's rugby with coach Rhys Edwards, as well as hearing from clubs Bedlinog, Penybanc, Kidwelly and Skewen. We also speak to volunteer of the year, Sue Davies on Whitland and the Scarlets.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
Disappointment at the Millennium Stadium, but don't be sad because two out of three is not bad in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast as the 20s and Women both win. We hear from Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny about the defeat to England and looking forward to Scotland. Wales U20s captain Ollie Griffiths, back Josh Adams and forwards coach Geraint Lewis talk about their victory over double world champions England, while Wales Women also beat a world championship winning England team - we speak to backs Elinor Snowsill, Ade Taviner and Laurie Harris.
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has over hauled his backline with four changes behind the scrum as he attempts to beat Wales for the first time, for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash at Stade de France.