Wales v France – Six Nations Preview
Wales and France go head to head at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Friday evening in the opening match of the third round of games in this year’s Six Nations. With both sides going into the match unbeaten, an entertaining match looks to be on the cards.
Wales go into Friday’s match on the back of an opening game draw against Ireland and a hard fought victory over Scotland. Welsh coach Warren Gatland has named three changes to his starting line-up for Friday’s match with Alex Cuthbert replacing Tom James on the wing, Dan Lydiate replacing Justin Tipuric in the back-row and Bradley Davis coming in for the injured Luke Charteris in the second-row. Wales are currently unbeaten in their last six Six Nations matches, winning five and drawing one – their best run in the competition since winning eight consecutive matches between 2007 and 2009. They are also in excellent form against the French, having won the last four matches between the side, their best run since recording six consecutive victories in the 1950’s. The Welsh back-row have been in scintillating form, with number eight Toby Faletau being one of the player’s of the tournament so far, making 33 tackles so far and missed none. The Welsh back-row give their backs a solid platform from where to attack and against a French side that is still in a transitional period, they could be set to dominate the forward battle.
France come into the match having edged out Italy in their opening match and then seeing off a tenacious Ireland by a solitary point in Paris two weeks ago. Having flopped at last year’s World Cup, new French coach Guy Noves is in the process of rebuilding the French squad and a trip to Cardiff on Friday will provide them a stern test and will allow Noves to analyse how far his new look team have come. Noves has made five changes to his side for Friday’s match with Djibril Camara set to make his international debut on the wing, coming in for the injured Teddy Thomas. Scrum-Half Maxine Machenaud, prop Rabah Sliming, lock Paul Jedrasiak and flanker Antoine Burban are the other changes for Les Bleus. Noves has commented this week that he wants to ensure that his French side carry on the traditional style of French attacking rugby but against a strong Welsh side, it may be that a counter-attacking game plan is not ideal. Having ground out victories over both Italy and Ireland, France have learnt to win ugly but Friday’s match may be a step too far for this new look side.
Wales are the 1.33 (1/3) favourites for Friday’s match with France available at 4.5 (7/2) and the Draw at 26 (25/1). The rugby betting tip for Wales v France on Friday is Wales on the handicap giving up a 9 point start at 2 (Evens).