Wales showed the depth of their character to get off to a winning start in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations, according to George North but the two-try hero claims there are plenty of improvements needed.
A sluggish start in a rainy Paris saw Wales fall 16-0 down to France by half-time as Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget crossed the whitewash, in addition to a Camille Lopez penalty and drop goal.
But as sublime as Les Bleus were in the first half, they were equally sloppy after the break as Huget’s spill gifted North his first try before a long, ill-advised Sebastien Vahaamahina pass was gleefully intercepted by the flying winger to race in and score, sealing a 24-19 comeback win.
Tomos Williams had kickstarted the comeback by running in following Josh Adam’s perfectly-timed pass and official Guinness Six Nations Man of the Match North insists a half-time discussion paid dividends.
“Bit of a mixed day today,” said North. “In these sort of conditions anything can happen.
“We spoke all week about chasing everything down. In the first half we didn’t really play the way we wanted to, got away from our gameplan and allowed them into the game.
“In the second half it was all hands on deck: refocus, rejig and get back to where we know we can be.
“I’m just really happy. We made a few mistakes, including myself, in the first half. The messages at half-time were clear, and I think it showed.
“The boys knew straight away that what we were doing was wrong and we needed to put it right.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to take a risk, but more so the team effort in the second half really showed where we can go.
“The bossman [Warren Gatland] has spoken about where we could go from the autumn to now.
“We were a few yards off the pace of where we normally can be. I think that showed how much we can dig in to get a result, but we’re nowhere near where we need to be.”
Regardless of how it came, Wales’s victory was exactly what they needed to begin the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
A trip to Italy is next up before welcoming England to Principality Stadium after the rest week in Round 3.
And North claims this is the first step for Warren Gatland’s troops.
He added: “A win is huge, it’s all the hard work. For us it’s a good step for a big campaign. We’ll look at this match and then have a big focus for Italy next week.”