Player Ratings: Wainwright the star of the show
OPINION: Throughout this tournament, Wales have backed their defence against broken field brilliance but this felt like a defensive effort too far.
It was, however, just enough, despite France continuing to play well even after receiving a red card for dangerous play from Sébastien Vahaamahina.
We rate the full squad below.
15. Liam Williams – 6
Not his usual flawless self, like so many of his team-mates, but had a few important moments.
14. George North – 6
Showed more in defence than attack in this game, with some well-judged tackles.
13. Owen Watkin – 6
The late replacement for Jonathan Davies and the latter’s calm in defence was missed. Lovely tip-on pass in the first half, however, and did his bit.
12. Hadleigh Parkes – 7
Tackled well, ran hard and straight, and tried to keep some composure in the chaos around him.
11. Josh Adams – 6
A tough night for the young breakthrough star but he worked hard.
10. Dan Biggar – 7
Made for this sort of game and tackled ferociously. His kicks were crucial.
9. Gareth Davies – 7
His understanding of the offside line, in attack and defence, is essential to Wales’ game. Proved it again here.
1. Wyn Jones – 6
Not as involved as his fellow front row forwards but didn’t let the side down.
2. Ken Owens – 8
Huge in defence, playing for 75 minutes and making 19 tackles. Lineout was improved too.
3. Tomas Francis – 8
An enormous defensive effort from the tighthead who once struggled with fitness in games like these, making fifteen tackles.
4. Jake Ball – 8
Showed his huge engine yet again, tackling and carrying his guts out. Busy in the maul as well. Good partner to the captain.
5. Alun-Wyn Jones (capt) – 8
Leadership? Tick. Tackling? Tick. Carrying? Tick. Lineout? Tick. Without a doubt, Wales would not have emerged from the chaos of this game without him.
6. Aaron Wainwright – 9
The next Sam Warburton? He looks like he might have too much gas for that comparison. Outstanding game in every aspect. Some player.
7. Justin Tipuric – 8
Another big game. Started with a crucial turnover on his own line minutes into the game and ended with the surge on France’s line that led to Wales’ match-winning try.
8. Josh Navidi – 6
Went off early and was badly missed at the breakdown.
Elliot Dee – 6
Didn’t have much chance to make an impact but kept the lineout steady.
Rhys Carré – 7
Showed why Gatland took a chance on him. Huge shove in the scrum at the end.
Dillon Lewis – 5
Didn’t have the impact of his fellow prop, conceding two turnovers.
Adam Beard – 7
Mailing expertise was crucial towards the end.
Ross Moriarty – 6
Unlikely to be relishing his bench role but needs to find a better way to make an impact than instant yellow cards. Better in the second half and got a try.
Tomos Williams – 8
Excellent appearance. His rip from the scrum for the final for the final try was controversial but Peyper was happy with the replays. Extremely savvy in winding the clock down.
Rhys Patchell –
Not called upon.
Leigh Halfpenny –
Not called upon.
By Rhiannon Garth Jones, @RugbyPass