It was fitting that on the return to his old stomping ground, France defence coach Shaun Edwards oversaw a masterclass of a rear-guard action as Les Bleus battled to a 13-9 win over Wales in Cardiff.
Anthony Jelonch’s early try and eight points from Melvyn Jaminet ensured that France never trailed, but it was their defence that won the match according to manager Raphaël Ibanez.
The former France hooker was the man who convinced Edwards to leave Wales, where he had been defence coach under Warren Gatland, and come to France.
And he was clearly happy to have done so after arguably France’s toughest outing of the Championship so far.
Ibanez said: “I think our defence was outstanding, that is what won us the game.
“I think it was a very tense game. It was a fierce battle with many mistakes and we were under pressure, especially in the second half. Wales had a great kicking game.
“But in the end winning that game sets up a great opportunity for next week.
“Sometimes on the international stage, you cannot play fantastic rugby every weekend. You have to be smart and play in the right areas, making sure your set-piece is working well and your discipline as well.”
With four wins from four, France are now just one win away from the Grand Slam, which would be a first since 2010.
On that occasion, they beat England at the Stade de France on the final weekend, and it will be Eddie Jones’ side in Paris looking to dent the French party.
Les Bleus will be keeping a close eye on Saturday’s clash between England and Ireland, with a seven-point buffer to the two sides following this success.