Gatland: Confidence building

Wales coach Warren Gatland says his side are now "back in contention" for the Six Nations title after beating France 27-6 in Cardiff.

Wales are attempting to become the first side to win the championship outright in three straight years, an aim which seemed to have faded after a disappointing 26-3 defeat against Ireland in Dublin two weeks ago.

But Friday night's demolition of Les Bleus at the Millennium Stadium means Gatland's side can travel with renewed hope to face England at Twickenham on March 9.

"It gives us a better chance than we had before the France game. If you look at Dublin, you would probably have expected it (the France game) to be a lot closer," Gatland said.

"We are back in contention. We have got some confidence and can build a bit of momentum. We have had some good results at Twickenham.

"All you can ask as coaches is for the players to give 100 per cent, and they did that."

Tries in each half from George North and Sam Warburton, plus 17 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, left France floundering on Friday night.

The visitors also had prop Nicolas Mas and No 8 Louis Picamoles sin-binned, which meant they played half the second period with 14 men.


It was a record Six Nations win for Wales against France and the home side's largest margin of victory in the fixture since 1950.

"We know we let ourselves down in Dublin in terms of the way we played and the performance," Gatland added.

"There was a lot of pressure on the coaches and the players, and they responded brilliantly. I thought it was an excellent display.

"The message is always when you put that jersey on that you need to remind yourself sometimes about the responsibility. We are such a small playing nation that you can't take that jersey for granted. That was the message.

"The performance against Ireland just wasn't good enough. It wasn't good enough from the players or coaches.

"It was a reminder that when we put that jersey on we have got a huge amount to play for, whether it is family or friends or players from the past.

"Even though there was a lot of criticism out there and people calling for wholesale changes, I am a great believer in sometimes giving players a chance to redeem themselves. That is definitely what happened.

"When you are involved in a game that doesn't go your way, then you want the chance to go out there and put things right."