Wales vs France: Six Nations talking points ahead of Cardiff clash
Wales vs France
Guinness Six Nations
4:45pm Saturday February
Cardiff, principality Stadium
Talking factors as unbeaten France head to Cardiff searching for a first Six Nations triumph in the Welsh capital since 2010…
France have already seen off Italy and England in the Six Nations, however they have to win on the street when this side would like to prove they are worthy of their plaudits.
Fabien Galthie’s first squad last couple had 19 uncapped players from 42, so there are plenty of youngsters who won’t be scarred from the losses the national team has endured over the past decade – but they’ll know about the bad away record of recent occasions.
France possess the same record against perennial wooden-spoonists Italy over the period, and have collected three wins at Murrayfield in the last ten tournaments, but against the other three teams in the tournament they have come up away from your home.
Their last victory in Cardiff in the Six Nations was in 2010, which was the last time they recorded a Grand Slam, and they haven’t had championship achievement because 2011.
It is a shocking 15 years since they won Six Nations Test at Twickenham, and it has six years since they won in Edinburgh, so their away success in the championship because 2014 has come against Italy.
The round-one win against England in the past, this weekend is the best chance for a young France side .
In contrast with their customers, Wales will field the restricted team in Six Nations background on Saturday – and – head coach Wayne Pivac hopes that experience will be a variable.
The Wales beginning line-up contains a listing 859 caps, together with more than half the side having played skipper Alun Wyn Jones and 50 Tests.
It violates the previous mark of 822.
“Hopefully it will mean a lot this weekend,” said Pivac, who has made two changes from the side beaten by Ireland 12 days ago, calling up scrum-half Gareth Davies and flanker Ross Moriarty.
“If we can begin well, which will be something we are attempting to accomplish in both halves – we have been a little slow out of the blocks – then that experience will hopefully come through for us and certainly will test some of these inexperienced players in their side.”
France were notable in their 24-17 victory over England in week one, but is the simple fact that they were 24-0 up after an hour and let England back to the game. Jonny May try in the minute obtained England off the mark, and ultimately Eddie Jones’ side was able to leave a bonus point to Paris.
France win over Italy a week afterwards was more comfortable, but in reality Les Bleus were cluttered and might have been punished by opposition that is better.
Will Greenwood, talking on this week’s podcast from the Himalayas, said the challenge for the coaching staff is getting the players to provide on the area.
“I looked in the 2 performances they have had so much, and you may actually say the previous 30 [minutes] they had against England wasn’t good,” Greenwood said. “Apart from the [Antoine] Dupont interior ball to [Charles] Ollivon round the front of the lineout, England shot them apart from the second half.
“I believe that the challenge for Shaun Edwards, or Fabian Galthie clearly, is to try and turn this team into a 70-minute team. No staff really can ever play 80, but I still think in the two matches they have shown they’re 50 minutes and 30 off – which is way better than they have been.
“That’s their huge challenge now, to generate a 60-minute performance because I think 50 moments in Cardiff will not be good enough”
France were defeated in manner by Wales at the quarter-finals of last year’s World Cup in Japan. The French were in the second half when Sebastien Vahaamahina provided among the memorable elbow-to-the-face moments in rugby history by striking Aaron Wainwright at the jaw without any provocation.
Vahaamahina was delivered by referee Jaco Peyper and though France held out admirably for nearly half an hour, Ross Moriarty finally cut his side with five minutes remaining with an effort that got Wales a one-point win.
Then-Wales coach Warren Gatland acknowledged after the game that”the side had lost”, however, the French will not have taken any comfort from Gatland’s words as a second consecutive World Cup finished at a last-eight exit.
The current crop will have salvation for the Japan reduction in their heads if they take the area at Cardiff Even though Vahaamahina may take the majority of the blame for last year’s decrease.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Dillon Lewis, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Can Rowlands, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Johnny McNicholl.
France: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Anthony Dupont; 1 Cyril Baille, two Julien Marchand, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 5 Paul Willemse, 6 Francois Cros, seven Charles Ollivon (c), 8 Gregory Alldritt.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Matthieu Jalibert, 23 Thomas Ramos.