Six Nations 2013 Prediction: France v Wales

wales france

Saturday’s match between France and Wales is shaping up to be the battle of the wounded beasts. The extent to which they’re wounded, however, is markedly different. France’s unexpected loss against Italy last week was like a papercut – it would have been apocalyptically painful, but the damage was only skin deep. It would have made them angry, and hungry for revenge. Wales, on the other hand, have been hit by a bus nine times in a row. They’re lying in a pool of their own blood, and somehow have to drag themselves out. Bring it on.

Reasons to back France
Ah France – predictably unpredictable, consistently inconsistent… they almost always have at least one poor game in the Six Nations. The worrying thing is that, this time around, they may have got it out of the way early doors. We know that it’s a team full of quality – their Autumn Internationals and domestic form show that – and you can guarantee they won’t be as complacent as they were against Italy. It’s such a big team, made all the more massive by the inclusion this week of super-sized centre Mathieu Bastareaud. They’ll want to bully Wales, looking to fill them with fear and doubt. In the back of all the Welsh minds will be their run of losses, and France will want to capitalise on that. They just about got the upper hand in the scrum against Italy (no mean feat) and, with Wales second best to Ireland in this area, they’ll look to squeeze an advantage there. They won’t be as lethargic at the breakdown this week, and should at least achieve parity with Wales on the floor. The key for France will be momentum; if they can get quick ball in the right part of the field, and start rolling the phases together, then they have more than enough power and guile in the backs to break a leaky Welsh defence. Wales’ kicking game against Ireland was fairly ineffective, and France will gladly accept any invitation to counter-attack.

Reasons to back Wales
They have to end their run of bad form eventually, don’t they? They possess more than enough talent to make it happen, but rugby is about so much more than that. All the right ingredients are there, they just need someone to mix them all together, bang them in the oven and turn up the heat. It’s clear that Gatland used to be the man who made that happen, but with him out of the equation, who’s going to provide that inspiration? The loss of Warburton may well be a blessing in disguise; his form since the World Cup has been patchy at best, and he’s been replaced by the in-form Tipuric, who made a significant impact when he came on against Ireland. The addition of experienced back-row Ryan Jones as captain could make a difference, too. Could make a difference. Wales have to stop France from building up a head of steam, which means aggression and absolute commitment in defence for the entire game. If they switch off for any period of the match, as they’ve been susceptible to do, they will lose. Get in the lead early, shut the Parisian crowd up, and make France chase the game. No more going for the try when the easy points are on offer, either. If every Welshman plays as well as he’s capable, with a fired-up, unified spirit, then they could pull it off. Could.

Prediction

It will be as much a psychological battle as a physical one. Wales’ mental scars run far deeper, and will therefore be much tougher to overcome. It will take a full-on 80 minute performance to beat France in Paris, and I don’t think Wales have got that in them. France by five.

by Gideon Heugh

8 thoughts on “Six Nations 2013 Prediction: France v Wales

  1. This was the exact score I predicted. Good shout. Wales could be looking down the barrel of a shocking tournament if they fail to win in Paris. If Italy beat Scotland, I would also fancy them to beat Wales in Rome. Scotland v Wales (which I am going to) could be a wooden spoon encounter.

  2. I think (not hope), that this week will be another poor Welsh performance but the last one. After that it’s Italy then Scotland, where we should be able to get some momentum back, and go into a strong week against England to wrap it up.

    I think psychologically this will be too tall an order, especially since it’s in Paris, but I’m hopeful of what lies around the corner.

  3. I hope Wales win, but think France by 5 sounds about right. France had a pretty consistent 2012, rightfully securing a top tier seeding and then the French complacency set in (why is it the French are complacent when they underestimate a opponent, but the English are arrogant???). Whatever it is I don’t think it will be present this weekend.

    Wales are the championships ultimate momentum team, 3 grand slams …. but 4th or lower on every other occasion this millennium. I think Paris will ultimately prove too difficult a location/opposition for a momentum swing.

  4. Hard for the head to criticise all that has been posted so far .I’ve even let the head rule my Super Bru picks for once and picked France to win but I’d be delighted to be proved wrong .

    Needs an 80 minute performance though and we haven’t had one of those for about 11 months now.

  5. I fancy France by more than 5. Wales will stick to their same blinkered game-plan an be taken apart by a rampant French pack. France by at least 20!

  6. I think where you are mostly changes the game up a bit In France the french team might want it more, might want to prove themselves. Italy was in their homeground last match against france and that may have gave them the edge, But i have a feeling Wales might want to shock everyone after 9 losses in a row!

  7. Agree with majority of the above and if I’m thinking with my head rather than my heart then France by 5 sounds right. However, there is one thing that might help and that is Wales now have a handful of key players who now play in France. There was a time when going to play France in Paris would have had the team quaking in their boots but now it holds no fear, it is familiar. So if players like Phillips can spread this feeling through the squad (yet another argument for picking Hook in my opinion) then that could help keep things calm and focused – not something that is always our strong point! Still need to put the 80 minute performance though, that is the key.

  8. No matter how much discussion on individual matches rugby will
    never rival soccer as an international sport whilst the game itself is
    so flawed. The fact that the ball is in play for less than a quarter
    of match time speaks for itself. There are far too many petty
    regulations which constantly impede flow of play for reasons which the
    crowd invariably cannot see or understand, and which so often mean the
    game is won on negative scoring (penalties) rather than through tries.
    The outcome often therefore depends simply on whichever team has the
    best goal kicker. Let’s find a way to stop scrum collapses, and get rid of all the petty regulations (especially the accidental knock-on, which time and again stops a promising flow of play because of an inconsequential fumble which usually disadvantages the attacker anyway). It’s time for influential commentators and journalists to take the wider view and start campaigning against entrenched views.

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