6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

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6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Mon 12 Mar 2018, 8:53 pm

Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff.



Teams:

Wales: Halfpenny; North, S Williams, Parkes, L Williams; Biggar, G Davies; R Evans, Owens, Francis, Hill, A W Jones (capt), Tipuric, Faletau, Navidi.
Replacements: Dee, Smith, Lee, B Davies, Shingler, A Davies, Anscombe, S Evans.


France: Benjamin Fall; Gael Fickou, Mathieu Bastareaud (capt), Geoffrey Doumayrou, Remy Grosso; Francois Trinh-Duc, Maxime Machenaud; Jefferson Poirot, Adrien Pelissie, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Sebastien Vahamaahina, Wenceslas Lauret, Yacouba Camara, Marc Tauleigne.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Dany Priso, Rabah Slimani, Bernard Le Roux, Mathieu Babillot, Baptiste Couilloud, Lionel Beauxis, Geoffrey Palis.

....................................................................................................................................


So, with Ireland seemingly not interested in contributing to the excitement of Super Saturday by selfishly wrapping up the tournament a week early (Very Happy ) the REAL excitement in the championship lies in the race for 2nd place! Lots of teams in with a shout. Wales in 2nd currently. A win with no BP might be enough if England don’t beat Ireland with a try BP (big ask for them!). If England do that then Wales will need a try BP to be sure of 2nd place (again, a big ask!) otherwise it’s down to BPs and points difference I guess. France have a very real shout too: a BP win vs Wales and an England loss will see France finish 2nd. Scotland too have an outside chance but would need a big BP win and then two draws in the other two games (I think), and even then it’s down to points difference. So all to play for! Exciting.

I feel France have improved quite a bit of late. Still a bit erratic but they’re fronting up and making things difficult. I’m not overly confident for Saturday from a Welsh perspective as our own form has been a bit erratic. In fact, I’m a little surprised that we find ourselves in 2nd place!

Wales have quite obviously made an attempt to develop depth this tournament. Some of that was forced but in the past Gats would just put out of form and returning players in and hope they play themselves into form. If anything he’s gone a bit too far the other way as we have started 3 different fly halves this tournament and we don’t really know who is in pole position going forward. But it’s great for me as a Welsh rugby fan to see some depth develop for once. We seem to have a glut of back row forwards and some really quality players are going to have to miss out - we need to pick 3 starters out of Shingler, Navidi, Moriarty, Tipuric, Faletau, Cubby Davies and Jenkins. We still have the likes of Warburton to come back in too, Lydiate is highly experienced and on the fringes and youngsters like Ollie Griffiths, Will Boyd and Thomas Young are waiting in the wings. Happy days!

I think we’ll see a return to a near full strength team against France. I can’t decide who to go for at 10 though. Biggar might be a good steady eddy type to go through the phases and build pressure rather than the helter skelter rugby of someone like Patchell which is more high risk and high reward with lots of off loads and inter-linking. Anscombe might be a good compromise in between.

My team would be something like this:

1. Rob Evans
2. Ken Owens
3. Samson Lee (is he fit?)
4. AWJ.
5. Hill
6. Shingler
7. Navidi
8. Faletau
9. G Davies
10. Anscombe
11. North
12. Parkes
13. Sc Williams
14. Evans
15. Halfpenny

Bench would consist of something like Nicky Smith, Tomos Francis, Elliott Dee, Brad Davies, Tipuric, Aled Davies, Biggar, Liam Williams.

Liam Williams has not looked too good of late and Halfpenny seems to be in a bit of form and is attacking and running more. Plus he’s a kicking option and very good defensively. It’s a big call from me as I’ve not always been a fan of Halfpenny. Owen Watkin is unlucky at 13 in my team. I just think a bit more experience in Scott Williams will be needed against France, especially with Bastareaud running down the centre channels. Tough call though. In the back row I’ve gone for the creativity and form of Shingler; the physicality and breakdown skill of Navidi; and the carrying and power of Faletau. I think it’s a nice balance but there’s plenty to choose from. France have a mobile and physical back row so this will be a key area and I think those 3 will do well. Tipuric to come on when the game breaks up a bit.

Thoughts?


Last edited by The Oracle on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 12:51 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by whocares on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 7:02 am

Guirado is out injured. Without their main leader and captain Wales is likely to be ask way too many questions to this French team who is unlikely to show the same intensity that they did against England and Ireland. Wales by 15+ I reckon.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by SecretFly on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 11:36 am

Weird feel about this one.  Wales have something to fight for.  France have something to fight for.  Away isn't the favourite way that France likes to fight for something.  Wales love fighting for something in the Millennium/Principality.

So you'd assume Wales will have enough to make Home count and win with a bit to spare.

But.... I feel it's a weird time for France.  They're getting more confident in this thing called - a team - as distinct from trying to be a collection of individuals.  Haven't decided how I feel this might go yet.  Strange feeling about it.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 12:43 pm

France are a very powerful side, and there were signs of them stirring in that second half against England. It was still quite unfocused, like a big man throwing punches with his eyes shut, but I'm worried that he's going to open his eyes soon, and land some haymakers.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by SecretFly on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 1:02 pm

Captain will be a big loss though. Without a doubt, that's a boost for Wales' ambitions.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 1:25 pm

Are Wales fans happy with Gatland? A 51% win rate in 100 games isn't great. 3 titles for Gatland is great though.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 2:21 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:Are Wales fans happy with Gatland? A 51% win rate in 100 games isn't great. 3 titles for Gatland is great though.

It doesn't look good on the face of it. But Gatland was keen, when he came in, to increase the number of games we played against the big sides. So in his tenure we've gone to playing the 3 big SH teams every AIs and have toured those sides much more than in the past. So yeah, 50% doesn't look good. But we've been playing good sides more often than we used to. I think the best compliment I can give him is to say he's made us a very good 6N side and a competitive side on a world scale. He hasn't managed to get us to kick on against NZ and Aus but we're giving them much more of a game than we used to. We're OK against SA now, but that's because of their fall! I think we've won the last 3 encounters on the trot against SA and a few before that were very close. So we've improved. Gats has brought in a steely edge to a side with a previously very soft underbelly. But overall, in terms of world rugby, he hasn't been that good I suppose. What's his 6N stats like? How do they compare to Ireland and England coaches?
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 2:24 pm

I think you would have to say overall he has been a fairly good success. 3 6N championships is good in anyone's language and his record in the 6N is probably up there.

It is bizarre how bad Wales' record v Australia in particular is.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 2:28 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:France are a very powerful side, and there were signs of them stirring in that second half against England. It was still quite unfocused, like a big man throwing punches with his eyes shut, but I'm worried that he's going to open his eyes soon, and land some haymakers.

I tend to agree.  They do worry me.  However, I think they're still missing a bit of composure at crucial times.  Against England they had a few opportunities to score tries but made the wrong decisions.  Two of them I was shouting "how did you not score there!".  I think Wales at home will be defensively well drilled and, if we select a backrow with good balance and can get to the breakdown quickly and secure ball or disrupt and turnover on their ball, then I think Wales will be fine.  We'll score some tries on Sat I'm sure of that.  It's just whether we can keep France out.  At home, last game with no real pressure on (apart from to win at home and to finish 2nd), I think we'll be able to get the win.  

I'm going to be bold and predict a 27-13 win to Wales.  Fairly even in the first half.  Wales to be a little more clinical in the 2nd half (but probably missing a score or two).  Perhaps 3 tries and a few penalties in all for Wales.  France to miss a few crucial scores due to lack of composure and wrong decision making.


Last edited by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 5:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 2:33 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:I think you would have to say overall he has been a fairly good success. 3 6N championships is good in anyone's language and his record in the 6N is probably up there.

It is bizarre how bad Wales' record v Australia in particular is.

Yep, it's one of those anomalies really. We didn't deserve to win those games as we often did stupid things to lose them. But normally in the law of averages so many close games would probably swing Wales' way at least once!

I think his World Cup record is better than we're used to too. A semi-final and then a quarter final with a squad depleted by injuries. He seems to have us playing quite well in tournaments. It's the one off AI and summer tour games when he doesn't seem to be able to get the most out of the squad. The friendlies, as I like to call them! Wink
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by SecretFly on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 2:42 pm

Gatland is a long time in the job.  As Jones is finding out, and has found out before, you have your ups and downs - unless you're lucky enough to be in the easiest coaching stable in the world - ABs.
So ten years - up and down - 51% - with a limited pool of players to go to and to take from.  Good work.  A very good coach that gave Wales some great highs.
He sometimes spins things a little too positively when he might better stay silent but that's only style of presentation - and that's Gats; and if he wasn't his old self, we'd all be a little sadder.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by RiscaGame on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 4:36 pm

I’m not his biggest fan, but his record is rather skewed and doesn’t especially consider how well we’ve done in games and he certainly has narrowed the gap between us and the SH. We will never know whether somebody who was a bit more adventurous would’ve had a better crack at them, so I don’t tend to dwell on it.

To be fair to Cement Head, finishing second (or even third) isn’t too bad a showing, considering we had our two hardest trips this year. Plus it’s an improvement on finishing fifth last season, whatever happens. He has done better than I expected this year.

With regards to Saturday, I’m a little surprised he hasn’t named his team early. I’m pretty sure he knows what he wants to pick. I know the citing official has until this evening to decide whether Liam Williams warrants further looking at and maybe Samson Lee needs more time, so perhaps that’s it? I still think he will start Watkin at 13, but now think he will start Gareth Davies at 9 (despite the yellow) and will probably have Tipuric on the bench, given he praised him post Italy. I also think he may well pick Liam Williams instead of Adams on the bench now, given that he has already made a point with the public criticism.

Halfpenny, North, Watkin, Parkes, Evans, Anscombe, G Davies, Evans, Owens, Lee, Hill, AWJ, Shingler, Navidi, Faletau

Dee, Smith, Francis, BBBD, Tipuric, A Davies, Patchell, L Williams.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 5:03 pm

Pretty much the same starting team as me, Risca! Apart form Watkin. And I wouldn’t be sad to see Watkin start. Great minds!

Similar bench too apart from Biggar (me) and Patchell (you).
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by RiscaGame on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 7:41 pm

I wouldn’t be sad to see Scott start either, it’s just I believe that his form hasn’t been too great. It would probably benefit Watkin more to get another game too.

As we’ve discussed, there are merits to all flyhalves. I just don’t expect to see Biggar there because he isn’t really the player to influence off the bench, if the game opens up. That said, if we needed a DG to win, I’d rather him be on the field for that Wink

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Tue 13 Mar 2018, 8:09 pm

My thought pattern was along of the lines of: if Anscombe is having a mare then we’ll need someone to come on and steady the ship. Settle things down and play a bit more of a percentage game. That would suit Biggar, for me. Wouldn’t want Pathchell coming on to steady the ship! But you’re right, Biggar probably won’t be able to change the game in terms of breaking the deadlock or opening things up if that’s what’s needed. Might be better to start with the steady guy (Biggar) and put one of the other two on the bench, but Biggar hasn’t played much lately. Tough one.
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 3:17 am

I agree he has gone a bit over the top with experimentation, but when you look back at it all of those guys were the in-form players. Even though we can't win the tournament I think this has really benefitted us. By the time the world cup is here Gatland may be able to select a similar team that played against Italy and have them get a BP against Fiji or Uruguay. Rotation is very much needed in the RWC!

This is what I think he'll pick:

Halfpenny, North, Watkin, Parkes, Evans, Anscombe, G Davies, Evans, Owens, Lee, BBBD, AWJ, Shingler, Navidi, Faletau

Dee, Wyn Jones, Francis, Hill, Tipuric, A Davies, Patchell, Liam or Scott Williams

I would start with Patchell, and Biggar wouldn't make the squad as one mediocre performance doesn't cut it. The sooner Aled is back playing for Drovers the better.

PS he'd be crazy to leave out Patchell entirely - the boy is a game-changer and no other fly-half available to us can do it.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 12:49 pm

Wales team is up.  

Wales: Halfpenny; North, S Williams, Parkes, L Williams; Biggar, G Davies; R Evans, Owens, Francis, Hill, A W Jones (capt), Tipuric, Faletau, Navidi.
Replacements: Dee, Smith, Lee, B Davies, Shingler, A Davies, Anscombe, S Evans.

He's gone for Biggar as the steady Eddy 10, with Anscombe to come on to break things up a bit.  I can see what he's doing but I agree with Mikey that he's shown no form and played very little since injury.  Big call.

I feel sorry for Shingler in the back row.  The guy is on fire.  He carries well but also makes clean breaks too, and his offloading is superb.  Does it mean Navidi is 6?  Or Tips 6?  Two opensides in the  back row has been shown to be quite effective before though.  Navidi deserves to be in so happy for him.

Scott Williams is lucky to be in but, as with Biggar, perhaps we're going for experience first.  Steff Evans misses out too, which is surprising.  I'm not sure Liam W has shown more wing form than him.

The rest sort of picks itself.  I'm guessing Lee is injured?
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by SecretFly on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 1:01 pm

A lot of the older more usual Welsh Internationals seem to be back there. Is Gatland slowly reeling back from the enthusiasm for the spruce goose loose stuff championed by the Scarlets?

Is he getting cold feet on that one and running back to his regular pool of more stable but reassuring players?

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by robbo277 on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 1:27 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:Are Wales fans happy with Gatland? A 51% win rate in 100 games isn't great. 3 titles for Gatland is great though.

It doesn't look good on the face of it.  But Gatland was keen, when he came in, to increase the number of games we played against the big sides.  So in his tenure we've gone to playing the 3 big SH teams every AIs and have toured those sides much more than in the past.  So yeah, 50% doesn't look good.  But we've been playing good sides more often than we used to.  I think the best compliment I can give him is to say he's made us a very good 6N side and a competitive side on a world scale.  He hasn't managed to get us to kick on against NZ and Aus but we're giving them much more of a game than we used to.  We're OK against SA now, but that's because of their fall!  I think we've won the last 3 encounters on the trot against SA and a few before that were very close.  So we've improved.  Gats has brought in a steely edge to a side with a previously very soft underbelly.  But overall, in terms of world rugby, he hasn't been that good I suppose.  What's his 6N stats like?  How do they compare to Ireland and England coaches?

Win %s 2008 - 2018 (rounds 1 to 4) inclusive - by country:
England: 73%
Wales: 68%
Ireland: 64%
France: 56%
Scotland: 27%
Italy: 13%

Win %s 2008 - 2018 (rounds 1 to 4) inclusive - by coach (with apologies for the formatting):
Lancaster 80%
Jones 79%
Schmidt 73%
Lievermont 70%
Gatland 69%
M Johnson 63%
Ashton 60%
Kidney 60%
Howley 60%
Noves 50%
Brunel (FRA) 50%
Townsend 50%
Saint-Andre 45%
O'Sullivan 40%
Cotter 33%
S Johnson 30%
Hadden 20%
Robinson 17%
Brunel (ITA) 16%
Mallett 15%
O'Shea 0%

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 1:34 pm

Good work Robbo!
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by majesticimperialman on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 1:44 pm

Is any one as surprised as me the Biggar is back at 10 for the last game. given the amount of time he as been injured?

I would of thought that Gatland would of gone for Ascombe with Patchell on the bench.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by SecretFly on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 1:51 pm

Bigger will steady a ship against an increasingly confident France that in theory has the power to do one on Wales if they get into a mood.

I'm having real trouble with this game determining how I'm going to read/predict it.

So come on Welsh lads - help me out. Are you really, really confident this is going to be a good day for Wales?

I can't get it out of my head that it might be an upset.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by robbo277 on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 1:56 pm

No problem.

Gatland in at 5th on that list isn't bad, but it doesn't tell the full story. The top 5 are all obviously talent coaches however:

Lancaster's record is over a smaller span (4 tournaments as opposed to 8+4/5 for Gatland) and bafflingly doesn't include any trophies - which is the true yardstick and possibly ultimately why he got the chop. Yes, the World Cup was a disaster, but if we'd had a couple of trophies banked you could perhaps excuse that.

Jones record is also over a much smaller span, although he has produced silverware. Still incumbent, so it will be interesting to see how he continues.

Schmidt is doing some very good things with a very talented bunch of players. He has 3 trophies in 5 tournaments and a win % that reflects that. Ireland fans will be hoping his reign continues and the trophies and wins continue to pile in. It's worth noting, if Ireland beat England on Saturday Schmidt's 6 Nations win rate will overtake Eddie's.

Similar to Lancaster, Lievermont's record is only over 4 tournaments. It does include a Grand Slam in 2010, a loss to Italy in 2011 and he eventually left after the 2011 World Cup. Talented coach, but without Gatland's longevity.

I think Gatland has continually punched above his weight as Wales coach. When things go well they can compete at the top end of tournaments (especially with the bunch they had between 2011 and 2013, with a World Cup semi, a Grand Slam, another Championship and a bunch of Lions on a winning tour to Australia), and even when he has less quality players he can make Wales difficult to play and beat and able to continually pick up wins. Wales have failed to win 3 games only once under Gatland, and to do that with the resources he has over the time he has is impressive.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by robbo277 on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 1:59 pm

SecretFly wrote:Bigger will steady a ship against an increasingly confident France that in theory has the power to do one on Wales if they get into a mood.

I'm having real trouble with this game determining how I'm going to read/predict it.

So come on Welsh lads - help me out.  Are you really, really confident this is going to be a good day for Wales?

I can't get it out of my head that it might be an upset.

Wales at home, I think they'll just about be too strong for the French.

In the last 3 tournaments, the only away wins in fixtures that don't include Italy have been:
2017: Wales vs England
2018: France vs Ireland

That's 2 wins in 18 fixtures.

Wales have picked a strong side and France are missing Guirado. I can see Wales having too much.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 2:04 pm

I would be surprised if Wales lost too.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by SecretFly on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 2:09 pm

robbo277 wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Bigger will steady a ship against an increasingly confident France that in theory has the power to do one on Wales if they get into a mood.

I'm having real trouble with this game determining how I'm going to read/predict it.

So come on Welsh lads - help me out.  Are you really, really confident this is going to be a good day for Wales?

I can't get it out of my head that it might be an upset.

Wales at home, I think they'll just about be too strong for the French.

In the last 3 tournaments, the only away wins in fixtures that don't include Italy have been:
2017: Wales vs England
2018: France vs Ireland

That's 2 wins in 18 fixtures.

Wales have picked a strong side and France are missing Guirado. I can see Wales having too much.

Well yes. But that's my problem. The conditions seem to suggest a Welsh win and maybe comfortably too in that cauldron of theirs. But this gut is saying 'be careful here' to me.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by robbo277 on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 3:01 pm

SecretFly wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Bigger will steady a ship against an increasingly confident France that in theory has the power to do one on Wales if they get into a mood.

I'm having real trouble with this game determining how I'm going to read/predict it.

So come on Welsh lads - help me out.  Are you really, really confident this is going to be a good day for Wales?

I can't get it out of my head that it might be an upset.

Wales at home, I think they'll just about be too strong for the French.

In the last 3 tournaments, the only away wins in fixtures that don't include Italy have been:
2017: Wales vs England
2018: France vs Ireland

That's 2 wins in 18 fixtures.

Wales have picked a strong side and France are missing Guirado. I can see Wales having too much.

Well yes.  But that's my problem.  The conditions seem to suggest a Welsh win and maybe comfortably too in that cauldron of theirs.  But this gut is saying 'be careful here' to me.

Right, gotcha.

I just think the scale is too much.

The sides are evenly matched, Wales look solid enough with tried-and-tested players, so for France to turn them over they'd have to put in a special performance - a level I don't think we've seen from France for years and years.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Scarpia on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 3:44 pm

SecretFly wrote:A lot of the older more usual Welsh Internationals seem to be back there.  Is Gatland slowly reeling back from the enthusiasm for the spruce goose loose stuff championed by the Scarlets?

Is he getting cold feet on that one and running back to his regular pool of more stable but reassuring players?

Or is he telling Biggar, "You've seen the way we want to play. Prove to us that you can do it too"

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by whocares on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 6:43 pm

No Thomas for France is a bit of a let down. Surprised to see Fickou starting on the wing instead. Rest is kind of auto-pick really. Still maintain Wales by 15. Would be very surprised to see France up to it really. A win at the millenium would mean way way more than last weekend win against England. It would mean real progress for the first time since 2012.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by maestegmafia on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 7:36 pm

Missing the Hooker and Captain is a hugely unfortunate situation. He has always performed and thus dragged France to their better results.

Still a formidable team. Could be a great match


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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by TightHEAD on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 8:45 pm

I Think Wales will edge it, might even be the game of the championship,
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 11:12 pm

robbo277 wrote: Wales have failed to win 3 games only once under Gatland, and to do that with the resources he has over the time he has is impressive.

Thanks for acknowledging that. Our set-up is and always has been gash but is slowly improving. We should also note the two amateur backing staff that Gatand carries on his back and has done for 10 years - maybe he prefers it that way so he has a lot more say in what goes on. And now we can add Sean Edwards to the carrying last, he's got to be 4 years past his sell-by date now.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 15 Mar 2018, 11:16 pm

The Oracle wrote:Wales team is up.  

Wales: Halfpenny; North, S Williams, Parkes, L Williams; Biggar, G Davies; R Evans, Owens, Francis, Hill, A W Jones (capt), Tipuric, Faletau, Navidi.
Replacements: Dee, Smith, Lee, B Davies, Shingler, A Davies, Anscombe, S Evans.

He's gone for Biggar as the steady Eddy 10, with Anscombe to come on to break things up a bit.  I can see what he's doing but I agree with Mikey that he's shown no form and played very little since injury.  Big call.

I feel sorry for Shingler in the back row.  The guy is on fire.  He carries well but also makes clean breaks too, and his offloading is superb.  Does it mean Navidi is 6?  Or Tips 6?  Two opensides in the  back row has been shown to be quite effective before though.  Navidi deserves to be in so happy for him.

Scott Williams is lucky to be in but, as with Biggar, perhaps we're going for experience first.  Steff Evans misses out too, which is surprising.  I'm not sure Liam W has shown more wing form than him.

The rest sort of picks itself.  I'm guessing Lee is injured?

Yeah Gatland has probably surprised a lot of people again with this selection. There's no way I'd ever leave Shingler or Navidi out. Last week our back-row didn't make enough tackles and Italy were running down that 10 channel a lot - hopefully Navidi coming back in helps resolve that.

On the whole the Wales bench looks strong which I guess is what Gatland is going for. I'd love to see us smash France but I'm not sure we can as they're really strong up front - it really is a forward pack we can't keep affording possession to in our 22.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by gavstar on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 3:47 am

biggar played very well up flat on lions tour...he does what the coach tells him....the idea that he can't do it for wales is wrong.....gatland has tried to mix the available 10 s ....biggars been injured and on one game..Ireland... with average of 30% of the ball he s been seen by some as not playing the all running game...well any 10 will tell you it depends on the ball you're given .......patchell is not in the squad because he has a few match losing weaknesses that need to be worked on to play at international level, he was exposed in the England game and although some welsh supporters are looking for a throw back 10 that runs at all costs... we are evolving, but until we get the controller and free spirit rolled in one we have to pick our best option. at the moment that's biggar to start the games ..go from there.......personally I think sexton, Wilkinson, would never have been lauded by some welsh supporters if they had played for wales, those supporters are anchored in the past , run make breaks , excite, today the game is more of a mixed bag....look at England...farell breaks errr no!! ford err!!no...sexton..?? steady but eye for putting someone through but also stands well back for a good percentage to control when on back foot..like biggar ...so lets see what happens on Saturday.....it will depend ..as always... on the forwards,set piece, and mainly breakdown...as much as some welsh throw it around fans want off the cuff and ooohhhs and ahhss ....lets just win.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Scarpia on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 8:49 am

Classic Welsh approach. Kicking game to control and frustrate the opposition for upto an hour then open up. The problem is we were spoiled with Barry John, Phil Bennett, Jonathan Davies and others who could play both styles. These days they tend to specialise. If Biggar can have the chance (and the permission/instructions) prove he can play the running game to add to his superb kicking, defence and kick and chase he will join the ranks of the greats. He has been badly served by so called Warrenball rugby.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by The Oracle on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 9:26 am

gavstar wrote:biggar played very well up flat on lions tour...he does what the coach tells him....the idea that he can't do it for wales is wrong.....gatland  has tried to mix the available 10 s ....biggars been injured and on one game..Ireland... with average of 30% of the ball he s been seen by some as not playing the all running game...well any 10 will tell you it depends on the ball you're given .......patchell is not in the squad because he has a few match losing weaknesses that need to be worked on to play at international level, he was exposed in the England game and although some welsh supporters are looking for a throw back 10 that runs at all costs... we are evolving, but until we get the controller and free spirit rolled in one we have to pick our best option. at the moment that's biggar to start the games ..go from there.......personally I think sexton, Wilkinson, would never have been lauded by some welsh supporters if they had played for wales, those supporters are anchored in the past , run make breaks , excite, today the game is  more of a mixed bag....look at England...farell breaks errr no!! ford err!!no...sexton..?? steady but eye for putting someone through but also stands well back for a good percentage to control when on back foot..like biggar ...so lets see what happens on Saturday.....it will depend ..as always... on the forwards,set piece, and mainly breakdown...as much as some welsh throw it around fans want off the cuff and ooohhhs and ahhss ....lets just win.  


I'm not saying I want oohs and ahhs and throw it around at all costs. I just want variety from the 10 to keep the opposition guessing. Biggar is at his best when he adds variety to his game - the chips over the top that he often collects himself and offloads to the supporting man (I've seen him do it for the Ospreys this season with Webb), the grubbers, the half breaks (or full breaks would be better!). I don't believe Gatland tells one fly half to play one way and another to play a completely different way, yet we see different styles when they change the starting fly half. So it's perhaps down to instinct and perhaps confidence - maybe Biggar has lost some of his and tries less stuff. But for me one of the problems with Wales over the last few years has been predictability. Opposition teams know what's coming. That seems to be changing with the new style, which is great, but it seems to coincide with trying out new 10s too so perhaps it's the player. I'm not against Biggar starting. In fact I said it above (him to start and one of the 'looser' guys on in the 2nd half). But I just hope that with a lack of game time and perhaps a lack of match fitness (he's hardly played in a few months) he'll be able to give us the variety to unlock a stubborn and physical France team. Otherwise it could be a real arm wrestle.
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by majesticimperialman on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 12:38 pm

I am surprised that Biggar is starting or even in the Welsh team, due to the lack of game time he as had...surely it would of been better to leave him out and get game time with ospreys than risk him in a tough game like this one.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by RiscaGame on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 1:10 pm

Scarpia wrote:Classic Welsh approach. Kicking game to control and frustrate the opposition for upto an hour then open up. The problem is we were spoiled with Barry John, Phil Bennett, Jonathan Davies and others who could play both styles. These days they tend to specialise. If Biggar can have the chance (and the permission/instructions) prove he can play the running game to add to his superb kicking, defence and kick and chase he will join the ranks of the greats. He has been badly served by so called Warrenball rugby.

You’re dead on there. He has been sold short and I’d include Ospreys in that too.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by RiscaGame on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 1:13 pm

I’d say I’m surprised by the team, but I’m not really. I feel he has reverted to type a bit and that’s a shame.

I do think we will win tomorrow, but not comfortably. Hopefully they get a better crowd in than last weekend, that will get them going.

Viva Cory Hill


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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by gavstar on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 3:16 pm

last word on biggar...a familiar story like a lot of other players...one poster put on here that he had watched biggar from his early days and he was a real risk taker , try anything player...I didn't see him play when he was younger so I don't know , but maybe gradually the coaching has taken away some of his natural game...then we had howley early on telling him to reinvent his game...... when he had a poor game for wales v Ireland years back but he tried a lot of stuff in that game that didn't come off...the ideas were there but the finishing not international level....maybe a better coach would have said lets keep what you're trying to do and add xyz......what happened was the reverse....he stopped all the instinctive play and reinvented his game to one that was what they wanted.....who can blame him..look at the instinctive players cast off the international set up because they cant keep to the script. I hope its not too late for him to pull it all together , the rest of the 10's at this moment haven't got enough in their game at international level.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by TightHEAD on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 3:58 pm

I guess the roof will be open if there is the threat of snow tomorrow?
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by whocares on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 7:45 pm

Pretty sure it will be closed. Even more pressure on French players.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 11:09 pm

I rate Biggar highly he just hasn’t been on his best form a for a while. For me Patchell is the in-form 10. Anscombe has played alright but I think he’s inferior to these two, and even Jarrod Evans is starting to look better for Cardiff.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by RiscaGame on Fri 16 Mar 2018, 11:21 pm

TightHEAD wrote:I guess the roof will be open if there is the threat of snow tomorrow?

I wish Hersh was still around. He was semi funny and not repetitive.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 3:47 am

RiscaGame wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:I guess the roof will be open if there is the threat of snow tomorrow?

I wish Hersh was still around. He was semi funny and not repetitive.

Nope he was repetitive and unfunny too. Saying the same thing over and over for 10+ years (yep that long) is kinda pathetic though.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Scarpia on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 7:08 am

I would guess the French will want the roof closed.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Cardiff Dave on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 11:15 am

mikey_dragon wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:I guess the roof will be open if there is the threat of snow tomorrow?

I wish Hersh was still around. He was semi funny and not repetitive.

Nope he was repetitive and unfunny too. Saying the same thing over and over for 10+ years (yep that long) is kinda pathetic though.

TV presenters, commentators, pitchsiders and pundits been doing that for donkeys. More of 'em than ever now too. Mute button worn out again. Need a new remote for the Snooker world champ.

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Scarpia on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 1:14 pm

Cardiff Dave wrote: Need a new remote for the Snooker world champ.

John Bleeding Virgo wished all the Welsh viewers a Happy St David's Day.................................on Feb 28th!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by eirebilly on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 5:05 pm

Ding ding, come on Wales thumbsup
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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

Post by Heaf on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 5:06 pm

Did that go 10?

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Re: 6 Nations - Le Big One! Wales v Francais, Sat 17th March

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