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Gatland finds reason for optimism

Wales coach Warren Gatland insists his team are on the right track despite seeing their RBS 6 Nations title hopes ended by Grand Slam-chasing France.

Les Bleus' 26-20 victory at the Millennium Stadium means the Welsh are left to reflect on a frustrating Six Nations campaign that could see them hosting Italy in three weeks' time with only last place and the wooden spoon at stake.

But Gatland said: "If we can stop being our own worst enemies and get it right we are not far away from being a very good side."

He added: "At no stage did we feel under pressure because I don't think they (France) played a lot of rugby.

"We could have thrown in the towel at half-time, but we played some fantastic rugby in the second-half and showed some great character and put ourselves in a position to win the game.

"We were the architects of our own demise. Two intercept tries were really costly. It is hugely frustrating.

"Our fitness was superb, and we had France on the ropes. They were out on their feet.

"There was only one team playing rugby, and we had 70% territory and possession in that second-half."

Centre James Hook gifted France their opening try when an intended pass to his centre partner Jamie Roberts found Alexis Palisson instead, then Williams' lobbed ball ricocheted to a grateful Francois Trinh-Duc just before the break.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards added: "To keep France to no offensive tries was a great effort. But there is no doubt people are doing their homework and have seen they can get intercepts, because more than 30% of our tries conceded over the last 18 months have come from intercepts."

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