Six Nations: Ryan Jones hails Welsh character after victory

Captain Ryan Jones hailed Wales' "character and die-hard spirit" after they ended their eight-match losing streak with a 16-6 win over France.

The number eight saw his side bounce back from their opening Six Nations defeat by Ireland to record a rare victory over Les Bleus in Paris.

Wing George North scored the only try of the game to secure the win.

"It's special, on the back of where we've come from these last few months," said Jones.

"It was by no means a flawless display, there were a lot of errors there, but the character and die-hard spirit was something special.

Six Nations table

Played Won Points Difference Points

England

2

2

26

4

Scotland

2

1

4

2

Wales

2

1

2

2

Ireland

2

1

2

2

Italy

2

1

-19

2

France

2

0

-15

0

"We knew our errors last week were our undoing, so we tightened a few things up and we've taken the spoils."

Jones returned to the Wales side after recovering from a thumb injury and replaced injured skipper Sam Warburton as captain at Stade de France.

The 31-year-old Ospreys forward was selected at blind-side flanker but also set a new record when he captained Wales for the 30th time.

The victory over France was interim Wales coach Rob Howley's first win against a Test nation while Warren Gatland is away on British and Irish Lions duty and Wales' first win in Paris since 2005.

Jones paid tribute to the likes of props Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins, who along with Jones were part of the Wales side who won in 2005, for their contributions in a hard-fought match.

"The players who've been here before have come here, stood up and been counted and that's what it takes," said Jones.

"Hopefully we'll kick on from here; winning's a habit and we've got the monkey off our back now."

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who was named man of the match after kicking 11 vital points for Wales, admitted there was a sense of relief finally getting a win.

"I can't describe how much that means," Halfpenny said.

"The boys played incredibly well, we stuck together and what a fantastic win - it's been a long time coming.

"The boys were outstanding in defence, working for each other, just wouldn't give in.

"When we had a chance we took it, and that's what international rugby's about, taking your chances.

"We came out on the right side of it today. We've come out on the wrong side in a few games, with narrow defeats, and this win is amazing.

"It means everything - playing for that jersey, we're doing it for all the fans here and everyone back home and the boys were outstanding today."