Warren Gatland welcomed the biggest comeback in Six Nations history claiming that his Wales side have "forgotten how to lose".

At 16-0 down at halftime the match appeared over with France firmly in the ascendancy in every aspect as the visitors laboured in the wet conditions. But with three second-half tries, Wales somehow fought their way to a 10th successive victory, matching their best winning run in more than 100 years.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Photo / Photosport
Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Photo / Photosport

"It's nice to get out of jail 16-0 down and win the game so we'll take it," Gatland said. "Today our game management was poor but we found a way to win. For me, the big difference between the two teams is that we've probably forgotten how to lose and they're probably searching for some confidence."

Gatland had a warning for their rivals. He declared in the build-up that he believed Wales would win the Six Nations if they won this game and regardless of their many deficiencies, he plainly still feels this to be true.

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"Lots of things will be improved on in the next few games," he said. "It's tough in the Six Nations when you come up against one of the big teams, first up. France in Paris is a real challenge but if you can win the first game then you have a good chance of winning the tournament. It's a big start for us. We've got an eight-day turnaround with Italy next week so we're looking forward to the next few days.

Six Nations Championship Round one, France vs Wales. Photo / Photosport
Six Nations Championship Round one, France vs Wales. Photo / Photosport

"Everyone who's won this Championship in the last 10 years will recognise there's games where you get a bit lucky. Like the Johnny Sexton drop-goal last year against France. We look back on times when we've won the Grand Slam and had a bit of luck."

George North was awarded the man of the match honours, despite struggling in the first half. It was his defensive mistake which allowed in Yoann Huget. But in the second half it was the Lions wings "never-say-Dai" attitude which saw him make up for his error when capitalising on a horrendous Huget howler and then score the winning try with an interception straight from the Fiji sevens team playbook.

Gatland, however, was muted in his praise of North. "It was great that he scored two tries but I'm more disappointed with France's second try when he stepped in off his wing," he said. "He should have stayed on his man. That was more disappointing for me. But he's gone hard at that intercept and it's a big moment in the game.

"He's a quality player. I thought Josh Adams was one of the players of the match on the other wing. George has got some real special qualities as a player and those two tries had a big impact on the game."

Wales' Gareth Davies and Aaron Wainwright at the final whistle. Photo / Photosport
Wales' Gareth Davies and Aaron Wainwright at the final whistle. Photo / Photosport

North was honest in his own assessment. "It wasn't really the best half from us," he said. "We knew that the first half would be hard, that France would come out strong, being the home of the first game of Six Nations. They played some good rugby, nothing really went our way."

North revealed that there was no panic in the dressing room at the break. "The messages at half time were clear, to stick to our structure, we know what we're doing, back the result and back each other," he said.

"It showed in the result that came in the second half. We are at a great place momentum-wise. It really sets a marker for us to go forward now, for next week against Italy."

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Alun Wyn Jones was typically circumspect. The captain had said in the week that the momentum built by their nine successive victories going in would mean exactly nought unless they started on the front foot. Instead, they were on the back foot, for almost the whole of the first half.

"We have to hold out hands up and say we came out pretty slow," he said. "Credit to George and our defence, they came through in the conditions. We learned pretty quickly that we were better off without the ball than with it. There is a lot of value in chasing lost causes. One with the kick and one with the interception.

"At half-time we were very clear about what we had to do, but had we not taken the opportunity early in the second half we might have felt the fear. A 16-point swing usually doesn't happen but we were able to get that snowball effect."

A remarkable beginning to the Championship was only soured by the vast swathes of empty seats in the stadium. The French authorities did not release an official attendance, but the 80,000- capacity arena was estimated to be almost a quarter empty. France's form has hardly helped but questions must be asked of the Friday night kick-off. A match which was spectacular on TV slightly suffered because of the gaps in the crowd.