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Scotland, Wales with Six Nations wins

By AAP .
10 February 2013 05:52AM EST

SCOTLAND thrashed Italy 34-10 and then Wales upset France 16-6 in the Six Nation rugby Tests played on Saturday night.

Wales ended an eight-match losing streak with a 16-6 victory over France in their Six Nations clash at the Stade de France on Saturday.

A try by winger George North -- his 12th for his country - late in the second-half gave the visitors the breathing space they needed to record only their fourh win in Paris since 1975.

For a woeful France side it was the first time since 1982 they had lost their opening two Five/Six Nations matches and coach Philippe Saint-Andre is left with a massive job to rebuild morale with a trip to England in a fortnight.

The opening 10 minutes saw Wales camped in the French half, but spoiling any incisive move by a forward pass or a knock-on while Dan Biggar's drop goal attempt fell well short.

The French struck with their first scoring opportunity when referee George Clancy penalised Wales for collapsing the scrum and Frederic Michalak kicked the penalty.

However, they were all square soon afterwards as France fell foul of Clancy and Halfpenny slotted over the penalty.

Wales were playing with much more discipline and purpose than in the first-half of their defeat against the Irish last week -- when they conceded 23 points -- but they could not breach the French defence with full-back Yoann Huget dealing with everything thrown at him.

A distinctly mediocre first-half -- not aided by a pitch that cut up badly -- ended 3-3 with the players exiting to a chorus of booing from spectators braving freezing temperatures in the French capital.

The Welsh took the lead early in the second-half when Halfpenny kicked a penalty after a storming run by scrum-half Mike Phillips got his team deep into French territory.

The hosts missed a golden opportunity to draw level immediately afterwards when Francois Trinh-Duc, who came on at half-time for Benjamin Fall, sent a relatively easy drop goal wide.

They did get back on equal terms in the 53rd minute when Michalak converted a penalty after Wales collapsed the scrum.

Saint-Andre rang the changes completely at this point replacing his entire front row and taking off the ineffective Maxime Machenaud at scrum-half and sending on Morgan Parra.

The Welsh pinned the French back in their half but again failed to press home their territorial advantage as North, bursting in from the wing into midfield, knocked on from the simplest of passes.

The errors kept on piling up and the paucity of quality play was summed up when Michalak, with time to think, passed the ball not into Huget's arms but into his face allowing the Welsh to recover the ball.

Wales took full advantage from the ensuing passage of play.

Biggar kicked behind the defence and the ball bounced kindly for North who, despite being tackled by Tinrh-Duc, was able to touch down before his foot went into touch.

Halfpenny landed a superb conversion to make it 13-6 and added a penalty shortly after to rub salt into French wounds.

Earlier, Scotland rebounded from their drubbing at the hands of England at Twickenham to defeat Italy 34-10 in a Six Nations match at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Leading 13-3 at half-time, the Scots ran in four opportunistic tries from Tim Visser, Matt Scott, Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont, with Greig Laidlaw supplying the rest of the points from the boot.

Alessandro Zanni battled over for a late consolation Italian try, converted by Kris Burton.

"Brilliant, delighted for the crowd," said Laidlaw. "It's been a rough time for us and we spoke about taking our emotions onto the field and what it felt like to be playing for Scotland.

"But we are not getting carried away, we have to go away and understand how we won this game and take it from there."

In front of a full-house, the Scots made a rousing start with winger Visser and Ruaridh Jackson immediately in the action with piercing runs.

And Visser was denied a try by a wicked bounce as he tried to latch on to a beautifully-weighted lob from Laidlaw.

Having weathered the early storm, the Italians, victors over France last weekend, replied in positive fashion.

They were handed a clear-cut chance to break the deadlock when lock Jim Hamilton was offside in a maul - but Luciano Orquera shook his head in disbelief as the ball crashed back from the post.

Italy kept up the momentum and only some excellent foraging work by Rob Harley stepped the tide in the short term.

Then a huge clearance from full back Hogg eased the pressure further.

That was the cue for Hamilton and Johnnie Beattie to test the visiting defence with powerful runs, which led to a penalty opportunity for Laidlaw - which he confidently took from 35 metres to give his side the lead against the run of play.

Laidlaw's strike prompted the Italians into mounting more raids at the other end, but without looking likely to break through.

Conversely, while Scotland's attacks were not frequent but they looked more capable of earning points.

And sure enough, Laidlaw doubled his penalty tally following a ruck offence.

Centre Scott then homed in on the line when the Italian back markers made a hash of dealing with a Sean Lamont chip.

But Scott's dash was halted by a marvellous tackle by scrum-half Tobias Botes.

The celebrations among the home fans were only delayed for a matter of seconds as they watched Visser jinxing his way to a touchdown from 20 metres after he had taken a lovely short pass from Jackson.

Laidlaw added the extras from a tricky angle to provide Scotland with another dose of self-belief.

Italy found more fluency in the build up to the interval and they at least broke their duck through an Orquera penalty in the 39th minute.

But the Scots punished them two minutes after the restart with a try right out the top drawer.

Sean Maitland was the creator, coming off his wing and into midfield.

His offload to Scott was perfectly executed and the youngster wasn't going to be caught this time. Laidlaw again converted.

Even better was to come for the hosts four minutes later when Hogg finished the game as a contest.

Italy looked certain to score as Orquera broke into the danger zone - only for the flying Scot to intercept his pass.

Hogg had 90 metres and at least four markers to negotiate, but he answered the challenge with verve and poise to grab a third try, giving man of the match Laidlaw an easy kick to open up a 24-point gap.

Italy made a spate of substitutions in a bid to change the pattern of the encounter, but at this stage the Scots were in total control.

Scott ploughed over again in the corner following more quick-handed work by Maitland, but the effort was chalked off for a marginally forward pass.

However, touchdown number four did come along almost immediately, courtesy of Lamont, who scooted in under the crossbar after scooping up a loose ball at the base of an unattended ruck.

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