France coach Bernard Laporte admitted the RBS 6 Nations had worthy new champions after Wales held their nerve on the final day to beat Ireland and win the Grand Slam.
Laporte's side had given themselves an outside chance of retaining the title they won last year with a thrilling 56-13 win over Italy earlier in the day.
That meant Les Bleus had picked up the requisite winning margin to be able to pip both Wales and Ireland if the result should go their way at the Millennium Stadium.
But Wales, who had not beaten Ireland in Cardiff since 1983 and had not won the Grand Slam since 1978, rewrote the record books by sealing a 32-20 victory for their fifth win of a memorable championship.
For Laporte, it was a much-deserved success.
"Congratulations to Wales. They have played well throughout the tournament," he said.
"They won in France and have merited this."
France produced a classy performance against Italy - capped by a late onslaught that saw them score four of their seven tries in the final quarter-of-an-hour - to finish the competition in style.
It may have all been in vain with regards to the race for the title but Laporte still found plenty of positives from his side's display at the Stadio Flaminio.
"It was a good game, it is not easy to play against John Kirwan's strong team.
"It was good for us because we played with a lot of concentration, determination and we have scored seven tries - but that was not enough to win the Six Nations.
"We have to improve again.
"We will think who will come into the side in two weeks when we will have a meeting with all the staff to discuss it."
With regards to the serious-looking injury sustained by France winger Christophe Dominici, Laporte said the news was positive.
Dominici was carried off on a stretcher late in the first half wearing a neck brace after being hurt while trying to help his team clear their lines.
But Laporte said: "He is OK now, he has an injury but he has been examined and has had a lot of tests and all is good."
The 2017 RBS 6 Nations was watched by record numbers of fans
29 March 2017, 12:25pm
After an enthralling RBS 6 Nations Championship of twists, turns, and no small amount of drama on the last day, figures show the RBS 6 Nations is going from strength to strength, year on year, with no sign of slowing down.