Wales claim 2012 Six Nations title

by staff

Wales clinched a third Grand Slam in eight years on Saturday thanks to a 16-9 win over France which also gave them a measure of revenge for their heart-breaking World Cup semi-final defeat last year.

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert scored the only try of an absorbing match in front of a 74,178-capacity Millennium Stadium crowd in Cardiff, as the hosts added to their 2005 and 2008 Six Nations tournament sweeps.

"These guys have been a real credit to themselves, Wales and Welsh rugby. They're excellent professionals. They make our job as coaches easier as they do more than what we expect," said Wales coach Warren Gatland.

"They showed some great character, they know how to win and win ugly. They didn't know how to do that in the past."

Wales skipper Sam Warburton, who was sent off in the World Cup defeat against France in Auckland, added: "This makes all the sacrifices worth while.

"You have to give credit to the French. They made it difficult for us to get our game going. But we won and that's what counts."

A stunning solo try by Cuthbert, allied with three penalties and a conversion by Leigh Halfpenny were enough to see off a French side that scored three penalties through Dimitri Yachvili (2) and Lionel Beauxis.

Victory also meant Wales had equalled the record of their celebrated 1970s predecessors by winning three Slams in the one decade.

Saturday's match took place the day after Welsh great Mervyn Davies, captain of the 1976 Slam team, died from cancer.

"It's a very young team and this was their first chance to win anything," said Wales back-row forward and man-of-the-match Dan Lydiate.

"Mervyn Davies was a legend of the game and our thoughts go out to his family at this time."