sport news France 19-24 Wales: North leads second-half comeback as Gatland's men begin Six ...

From desperados to dreamland in 40 minutes – what a game, what a night, what a turnaround.

Wales were gone. They were beaten, battered, bruised and bullied – 16-0 down at half-time.

And then they won. 

George North played a starring role for Wales as they produced an historic comeback in the second-half to beat France

George North played a starring role for Wales as they produced an historic comeback in the second-half to beat France

The 26-year-old winger (left) produced a Man of the Match performance to help Wales win their opening Six Nations game

The 26-year-old winger (left) produced a Man of the Match performance to help Wales win their opening Six Nations game

Warren Gatland's side produced two distinctly different performances in either half as France chucked away a 16-0 lead 

Warren Gatland's side produced two distinctly different performances in either half as France chucked away a 16-0 lead 

It is a dream start for Wales as they look to wrestle the Six Nations title out of the hands of Joe Schmidt's Ireland this month

It is a dream start for Wales as they look to wrestle the Six Nations title out of the hands of Joe Schmidt's Ireland this month

Quite how or why or what the hell will be one for the annals. The facts are that Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget scored first-half tries, Camille Lopez hit a penalty and a drop-goal and this game was over after 40 minutes.

But Tomos Williams started it, then George North was gifted the easiest try of his life by the hapless Huget.

And when, with 17 minutes left Dan Biggar nudged Wales ahead it was on – the most stunning comeback you are likely to see.

They even had to win it twice, behind again with eight to go, North stole an intercept and ran in to raptures. 

Wales' Liam Williams escapes the clutches of the French rearguard as he scampers clear inside a wet Stade de France

Wales' Liam Williams escapes the clutches of the French rearguard as he scampers clear inside a wet Stade de France

Physicality was a key battle that was meant to favour the French but Wales stood up to the test following a shaky first-half

Physicality was a key battle that was meant to favour the French but Wales stood up to the test following a shaky first-half

They cannot be too many sights scarier in rugby than an incandescent Shaun Edwards, and Wales' defensive guru may just have turned into an erupting volcano at half-time such was the shoddiness of his side's efforts in the first half.

France were superb. They beat the Welsh up with their enormous 150st pack, then caused utter chaos out wide with their hot-stepping backs.

By the break Wales had to become the history boys; 16-0 down and lucky not to be further back they were staring a thrashing in the face. Wales' biggest comeback was a 13-point deficit back in 1999 when they trailed Argentina 23-10 at the break and won 26-36.

On the evidence of the first 40 minutes nil flattered them. 

It was a perfect start for France and they raced into a 5-0 lead after the first try of the game was scored by Louis Picamoles

It was a perfect start for France and they raced into a 5-0 lead after the first try of the game was scored by Louis Picamoles

With France buoyed by their bright start Wales were stunned and their supporters in Paris could not believe the contest 

With France buoyed by their bright start Wales were stunned and their supporters in Paris could not believe the contest 

It all started so quickly. By the seventh minute France had their first try. Bash, crash, smash through the phases until the opening came, then Camille Lopez, to Maxime Medard who found Louis Picamoles in space.

The No 8 stepped off his right foot and eased past Gareth Anscombe to score. Morgan Parra missed the kick and the next penalty from 47 metres out, but no matter the next try was fast approaching.

Before it came Anscombe attempted a long penalty and missed by a mile. Then Wales had some hope. Josh Navidi expertly nicked a ball from Picamoles, then carried well after a deft pass from Tomos Williams, charging on. Hadleigh Parkes

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