Wales have moved top of the Six Nations table after a comfortable victory over France in Cardiff. Both sides lacked any real cohesion in a frustrating first half at the Principality Stadium but George North's try - his second in as many games - early in the second opened up a lead France never looked like closing in on.
Wales, unbeaten so far in the competition, now face a potentially crucial trip to England that could decide to fate of the Six Nations crown on 12 March.
Dan Biggar missed the opening chance of the match from a free kick after 10 minutes, setting the tone for what was an underwhelming start to the contest. Referee Wayne Barnes penalised Rob Evans on the half-way line five minutes later but this time Jules Plisson missed the target, hammering his effort right wide of the posts.
France themselves were penalised moments later after a shoulder barge off the ball and this time Biggar made no mistake, driving it straight down the middle of the posts to put the first points on the board after 22 minutes.
A half devoid of any French flair progressed and Wales were able to extend their lead through Biggar again until suddenly France come alive through Virimi Vakatawa, who drove through the heart of the home side only to be stopped in his tracks by Taulupe Faletau. Les Blues progressed towards the try line but that work was undone when Barnes blew the whistle for a free kick. Plisson did manage to register his side's first three points of the evening after a foul from Dan Lydiate, but the home side ended the stronger with livewire Gareth Davies coming the closest to making something happen.
The home side started the second half well through a terrific burst by Wayne Barnes and were awarded a penalty after a dangerous tackle from Jonathan Danty on Alex Cuthbert. Biggar made no mistake from the spot.
Wales finally found the breakthrough, albeit, via an error strewn play, through North. The Northampton Saints winger burst down the right flank to get onto Jonathan Davies' pass, but opted to kick the ball on rather than pick it up, missing it completely. Luckily for him, Plisson behind him knocked it straight back into his path to tee up an easy try.
France failed to make a heavy spell of pressure in front of the Welsh try line count and fell further behind when Biggar again found his range from the penalty spot. Guilhem Guirado, France's best player by some margin on the night, closed the gap with a try in the final minutes of the contest with François Trinh-Duc converting, but it was far little too late.