Six Nations: Wales vs France Preview

Players attempt to score a try

France travel to Wales to decide which nation finishes in the top three of the Six Nations on Saturday the 17th of March.



Despite this year’s edition of the Six Nations Championship ending this week – and although the tournament is effectively over as a contest – there is still plenty to play for in terms of log positioning this Saturday. In the final fixture of the 2018 showpiece, France visit Wales to decide which nation finishes in the top three.

Wales v France
17 March 19h00
Principality Stadium


To Win (80 Mins)
Wales 1/3
Draw 22/1
France 24/10


Handicap
W
ales (-7.5) 9/10
France (+7.5) 9/10


Wales
In spite of some rather overconfident claims made by Warren Gatland at the beginning of the year, Wales will have to go another season without any Six Nations silverware. Their Triple Crown – and indeed, Championship itself - may have been dashed after successive losses to England and Ireland, but the 2013 champions will find respite in the fact that they have the chance to seal second-place with a dominant showing against France on Saturday.

With places five to two separated by just three-points, nobody can afford a slip-up this weekend and, in Wales’ case, they will have extra reason to believe a win is there for the taking. You’d have to look as far back as 2010 for the last French win on Welsh soil, a slender 26–20 result in Cardiff, and despite some improved showings by France in 2018, it’s hard to argue against their status as underdogs.

Wales will realize that the French will be well and truly up for this one. After the unbelievable defensive shift they put in during their win over England (they made a mammoth 168 of their 176 tackles for a completion rate of 95%), the hosts cannot bank on their star names breaking the line at will in the same vein they did against Italy. They need to be ready for a scrap.

France
Considering the pretty by the numbers campaign the French had put out heading into Round Four, it was one hell of a rabbit they managed to pull out of their beret in their 22-16 win over England. The Stade de France was sent into raptures at the final whistle as the hosts inflicted Eddie Jones’ second defeat in succession at the helm. Knowing the French, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that they take a hammering in Cardiff this weekend such is their infamous inconsistency, but every true rugby fan out there will be hoping they can deliver two titanic performances in a fortnight with a win at the Principality on Saturday.

France’s set-piece was in an absolute shambles in Paris last week and it really is a miracle they managed to pull off the win with their losing five of their 11 lineouts. Gatland’s Wales are a cunning team who are perhaps better placed to punish France for any similar transgressions than their Anglo counterparts. With this in mind, Jacques Brunel would have had to take a good long look at his side’s strategies from the throw-in to eliminate any similar offences from here on out.

Verdict: Wales (-7.5) 9/10
If France remain clueless at lineout time they will be made to regret it. Wales can punish any opposition unforced-errors on their day and, considering the form in which the likes of ex-Southern Kings man Hadleigh Parkes currently finds himself, will do so on Saturday.


Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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