SIX NATIONS OPENING MATCH - France vs Wales Stade de France - 1st February 2019

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:47 pm

First topic message reminder :

France: Maxime Medard; Damian Penaud, Wesley Fofana, Romain Ntamack, Yohann Huget; Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado, Uini Atonio; Sébastien Vahaamahina, Paul Willemse, Wenceslas Lauret, Arthur Itturia, Louis Picamoles.

Reps: Julien Marchand, Dany Priso, Demba Bamba, Felix Lambey, Gregory Alldritt, Baptiste Serin, Gael Fickou, Geoffrey Doumayrou.



Wales: Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis; Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones; Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Reps: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Aaron Wainwright, Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.



Last edited by maestegmafia on Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:57 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by Cyril on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:48 am

He’s got a great hand off, difficult to take down and always looking for the offload. Tasty. Plays a lot like an Aussie or Kiwi.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:51 am

I think if Wales play like they did in the AIs they should win. But first game and away from home, i think France will win. It will be a hard fight.

I could be wrong of course. be i am entitled to an opinion after all.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:26 pm

Decent team from us, anyone know the pack weight though?

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:16 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Decent team from us, anyone know the pack weight though?

Good point. Not sure of the weight of the Welsh pack. I’m guessing around 910kgs which is considerably less than the french who WOL said are 978kgs.


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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:53 pm

Reading the Six Nations competition thread it’s slightly in favour of a wales win but close.

I must admit my nerves are jangling. This french team has all the ability to do well, really well, may challenge Ireland for the title well. Though my gut tells me Wales will be structured organised and better prepared I am getting deeper doubts as the match gets closer.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:21 pm

I predict scrum time for Wales put in will last little more than 0.5 second. Shocked

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:26 pm

I couldn't confidently say Wales will win on that. I think it will be close either way.

Our little props will buckle their big lumps right up. Mark my words Wink

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:46 pm

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:I predict scrum time for Wales put in will last little more than 0.5 second. Shocked

As I am sure your wife reminds you, size isn’t everything technique is the key.

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Post by carpet baboon on Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:53 pm

I'm looking forward to this game. Both sets of backs look dangerous.
If the big french lads can get good ball and Parra actually gets it away quick they are going to cause problems.
But If you move there fat lads about I can see Adams and Williams having a field day

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:59 pm

carpet baboon wrote:I'm looking forward to this game. Both sets of backs look dangerous.
If the big french lads can get good ball and Parra actually gets it away quick they are going to cause problems.
But If you move there fat lads about I can see Adams and Williams having a field day

I think the whole of Wales is hoping we can tire out their front five quickly and start finding some opportunities for the backs to get through.

It’s going to be a chilly night in Paris so no one wil mind running around.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:01 pm

Weather forecast for Paris tomorrow night doesn’t ok good for running rugby. Very cold and likely very wet too unfortunately

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:07 pm

Have they got their Underhill heating sorted now. Sure it was france Ireland where a game was called off a few years ago?

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:08 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Have they got their Underhill heating sorted now. Sure it was france Ireland where a game was called off a few years ago?

Not sure, thought Underhill was injured, guess he could still warm the place up if that’s the plan.

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Post by Gooseberry on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:09 pm

Pitch conditions might play a part. If it cuts up that could negate the french scrum weight advantage and turn that into a lottery, and both sides could be forced to kick more than they usually might. It should warm up a bit but theres rain forecast around the time of the game, so again handling and running play could be hampered (unless Wales bring their roof?) which is not ideal for the flashier French backs.
Big thing for Wales is that France tend to perform below the level of their talents.
The weak point for Wales is perhaps the inexperienced 9-12, and missing Faletau is never ideal. Theres a few names I must admit I know very little about on the bench, but also some solid well established test players...but it doesnt look anything like the sort of 23 anyone wouldve penned in this time last year as part of the world cup prep.
Good opportunity for players to press a case, but overall is the squad lacking depth in quality and experience?

Wales are favourites in my mind simply because their motivation levels are likely to be higher than the French, and the idea of Paris as a fortress is gone now.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:12 pm

Now that was an auto correct maes! Under soil heating.they had nothing a while ago not even the inflatable heating protection popular here in the 90s.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:19 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Now that was an auto correct maes! Under soil heating.they had nothing a while ago not even the inflatable heating protection popular here in the 90s.

I guessed as much. Seems like auto correct gets worse every year.

I wondered if Underhill had a side line for a minute though. We never had a frozen pitch here when he played for the ospreys and maybe that’s why..! Ha ha ha

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:23 pm

Gooseberry wrote:Pitch conditions might play a part. If it cuts up that could negate the french scrum weight advantage and turn that into a lottery, and both sides could be forced to kick more than they usually might. It should warm up a bit but theres rain forecast around the time of the game, so again handling and running play could be hampered (unless Wales bring their roof?)  which is not ideal for the flashier French backs.
Big thing for Wales is that France tend to perform below the level of their talents.
The weak point for Wales is perhaps the inexperienced 9-12, and missing Faletau is never ideal. Theres a few names I must admit I know very little about on the bench, but also some solid well established test players...but it doesnt look anything like the sort of 23 anyone wouldve penned in this time last year as part of the world cup prep.
Good opportunity for players to press a case, but overall is the squad lacking depth in quality and experience?

Wales are favourites in my mind simply because their motivation levels are likely to be higher than the French, and the idea of Paris as a fortress is gone now.

I think most welsh fans are pretty happy with the team selected including the bench. The scrumhalf Tomos Williams is the only player lacking experience, though he is definitely the form scrumhalf at the moment.


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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:47 pm

I remember Mike Phillips causing France all sorts of problems the first time he played them, and Tomos Williams has the potential to do the same. That was in Cardiff, but still.

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Post by munkian on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:04 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if the only time we kick the ball out is for a penalty lineout in their 22.

Run the fat boys around.
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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:12 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I remember Mike Phillips causing France all sorts of problems the first time he played them, and Tomos Williams has the potential to do the same. That was in Cardiff, but still.

Yes and luckily I think Tomos seems to see a bigger picture than Mike who was always getting a bit too stuck in at the ruck

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:14 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I remember Mike Phillips causing France all sorts of problems the first time he played them, and Tomos Williams has the potential to do the same. That was in Cardiff, but still.

Yes and luckily I think Tomos seems to see a bigger picture than Mike who was always getting a bit too stuck in at the ruck

They genuinely couldn't handle him in that game. He was breaking all the time.

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Post by munkian on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:25 pm

I really rate Williams but I'm terrified of him throwing a couple of interceptions in a tight game, I hope his concentration has improved.
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Post by The Oracle on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:28 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I remember Mike Phillips causing France all sorts of problems the first time he played them, and Tomos Williams has the potential to do the same. That was in Cardiff, but still.

Yes and luckily I think Tomos seems to see a bigger picture than Mike who was always getting a bit too stuck in at the ruck

They genuinely couldn't handle him in that game. He was breaking all the time.

That was back when Phillips had good pace AND good size, which is rare for a scrum half of his size.  He could make breaks but also smash it up which most scrum halves couldn't do - it was either/or.  And he liked the confrontation too!  As he got older and had more injuries he seemed to get slower and slower so often relied more on the physical size and got to a point where he just seemed ponderous.  Most players get slower but I guess it is more noticeable at scrum half as they are usually nippy little f*ckers, and he was increasingly up against players nippier than him.  I liked Phillips (as a player) a lot though.


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Post by munkian on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:31 pm

The Oracle wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I remember Mike Phillips causing France all sorts of problems the first time he played them, and Tomos Williams has the potential to do the same. That was in Cardiff, but still.

Yes and luckily I think Tomos seems to see a bigger picture than Mike who was always getting a bit too stuck in at the ruck

They genuinely couldn't handle him in that game. He was breaking all the time.

That was back when Phillips had good pace AND good size, which is rare for a scrum half of his size.  He could make breaks but also smash it up which most scrum halves couldn't do - it was either/or.  And he liked the confrontation too!  As he got older and had more injuries he seemed to get slower and slower so often relied more on the physical size and got to a point where he just seemed ponderous.  Most players get slower but I guess it is more noticeable at scrum half as they are usually nippy little f*ckers, and he was increasingly up against players nipper than him.  I liked Phillips (as a player) a lot though.

Spikey had some fantastic games against Ireland too, especially in RWC 2011
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Post by The Oracle on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:07 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKDBvhmU_PY

Some lovely Phillips moments here - displaying both the running side (lots of dummies and breaks and tries, with pace) and the physical too (good smash on Mealamu on 54 seconds)!
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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:22 pm

Just chatting with a mate about if you could bring any welsh player from history, into the team for Friday would you want?

I’d love a 1971 Barry John to move that french pack around and tire them out. He was a master orchestrator at flyhalf

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:32 pm

Planet Rugby’s Prediction:-

“Expect an incredibly tight affair with defences on top in Paris. We go for the visitors to sneak this game though. Wales by 5.”

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Post by Gooseberry on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:57 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Pitch conditions might play a part. If it cuts up that could negate the french scrum weight advantage and turn that into a lottery, and both sides could be forced to kick more than they usually might. It should warm up a bit but theres rain forecast around the time of the game, so again handling and running play could be hampered (unless Wales bring their roof?)  which is not ideal for the flashier French backs.
Big thing for Wales is that France tend to perform below the level of their talents.
The weak point for Wales is perhaps the inexperienced 9-12, and missing Faletau is never ideal. Theres a few names I must admit I know very little about on the bench, but also some solid well established test players...but it doesnt look anything like the sort of 23 anyone wouldve penned in this time last year as part of the world cup prep.
Good opportunity for players to press a case, but overall is the squad lacking depth in quality and experience?

Wales are favourites in my mind simply because their motivation levels are likely to be higher than the French, and the idea of Paris as a fortress is gone now.

I think most welsh fans are pretty happy with the team selected including the bench. The scrumhalf Tomos Williams is the only player lacking experience, though he is definitely the form scrumhalf at the moment.



Anscombe does have more caps than I realised tbf, but still only 11 starts. With 10 starts for Parkes thats only 21 between the 9,10,12 combination, and another 11 caps as replacements. Josh Adams on the wing only has 6 caps, so the backs are a real mixed bag in terms of experience. Its pretty mad that despite all his lay offs North, at 26 years, has had more test starts than 5 of the others starting backs have combined.

Have no doubt that the Welsh fans are happy enough that Gatlands gone with form and youth, and obviously the injuries have to be mitigated for. Retaining Anscombe over Biggar shows hes rewarding success over going back to his big names. All round that sounds like a change from things hes been slaughtered for in the past.

The French backs are largely a much more familiar bunch of names. Im not going to pretend I know enough about the T14 to say if they are the form or reputation players, but they certainly have plenty of experience ...even if a lot of that is getting used to losing 6 nations games when they should maybe have been the stronger team on paper.

As always these 6 nations games are hard calls and its a tricky fixture for both. Worth watching even if the weather reduces the quality.
Planet rugbys predicition seems sensible.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:24 am

Gooseberry wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Pitch conditions might play a part. If it cuts up that could negate the french scrum weight advantage and turn that into a lottery, and both sides could be forced to kick more than they usually might. It should warm up a bit but theres rain forecast around the time of the game, so again handling and running play could be hampered (unless Wales bring their roof?)  which is not ideal for the flashier French backs.
Big thing for Wales is that France tend to perform below the level of their talents.
The weak point for Wales is perhaps the inexperienced 9-12, and missing Faletau is never ideal. Theres a few names I must admit I know very little about on the bench, but also some solid well established test players...but it doesnt look anything like the sort of 23 anyone wouldve penned in this time last year as part of the world cup prep.
Good opportunity for players to press a case, but overall is the squad lacking depth in quality and experience?

Wales are favourites in my mind simply because their motivation levels are likely to be higher than the French, and the idea of Paris as a fortress is gone now.

I think most welsh fans are pretty happy with the team selected including the bench. The scrumhalf Tomos Williams is the only player lacking experience, though he is definitely the form scrumhalf at the moment.



Anscombe does have more caps than I realised tbf, but still only 11 starts. With 10 starts for Parkes thats only 21 between the 9,10,12 combination, and another 11 caps as replacements. Josh Adams on the wing only has 6 caps, so the backs are a real mixed bag in terms of experience. Its pretty mad that despite all his lay offs North, at 26 years, has had more test starts than 5 of the others starting backs have combined.

Have no doubt that the Welsh fans are happy enough that Gatlands gone with form and youth, and obviously the injuries have to be mitigated for. Retaining Anscombe over Biggar shows hes rewarding success over going back to his big names. All round that sounds like a change from things hes been slaughtered for in the past.

The French backs are largely a much more familiar bunch of names. Im not going to pretend I know enough about the T14 to say if they are the form or reputation players, but they certainly have plenty of experience ...even if a lot of that is getting used to losing 6 nations games when they should maybe have been the stronger team on paper.

As always these 6 nations games are hard calls and its a tricky fixture for both. Worth watching even if the weather reduces the quality.
Planet rugbys predicition seems sensible.

Actually reading your post I am surprised at the reminder of how few caps players have in the backline.

Tomos Williams is the only player in that backline that I think could be deemed not first choice over the last year. Though Rhys Webb is unavailable, Williams is playing better than Webb and Gareth Davies.

Hadley Parkes has been first choice inside centre for over a year and has only lost on two occasions in a welsh shirt. Though form wise I personally think that Scott Williams has been the better option recently, he is injured so wasn’t considered.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac on Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:36 am

maestegmafia wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:I predict scrum time for Wales put in will last little more than 0.5 second. Shocked

As I am sure your wife reminds you, size isn’t everything technique is the key.

Absolutely, however, the Welsh pack was going backwards in the Autumn against lesser packs.

It’s not just the scrum it will be the driving mauls which will be very hard to stop & this is where the French will be attacking in my view.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:40 am

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:I predict scrum time for Wales put in will last little more than 0.5 second. Shocked

As I am sure your wife reminds you, size isn’t everything technique is the key.

Absolutely, however, the Welsh pack was going backwards in the Autumn against lesser packs.

It’s not just the scrum it will be the driving mauls which will be very hard to stop & this is where the French will be attacking in my view.

Probably why Adam Beard was selected, to counteract the mails as he did so well against the teams last summer and Autumn.

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Post by miaow on Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:04 am

munkian wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if the only time we kick the ball out is for a penalty lineout in their 22.

Run the fat boys around.

As much as that might sense on the surface of things, two things to consider:

1. France are typically flaky, disorganised, and rubbish at the transitional stuff like exits, restarts, box kicking, setting up phase plays etc. That sometimes includes the set-piece as well. If there's one lineout I'd say Wales could attack, it would be France.
2. They have some dangerous outside backs. Kicking infield when under pressure would feed them in the exact way they'd hope to be fed. Which isn't the way Antonio et al want to be fed...that's something else altogether...

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Post by miaow on Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:21 am

Also on Mike Phillips - that break around the 2 minute mark in the video will stand out for me. Epitome of Phillips at his best. Dummy, break, pace and power. Definitely had his limitations but there was a period when he was unstoppable. Passing and kicking never the best though, although adequate.

That said, 9 is a position of strength for Wales. Still think Rhodri Williams can come good if he's managed well at the Dragons. Has all the raw materials to be a test player. There's a number of solid 9s in the regions who could all step up if required, and then some like GD and TW who have that point of difference at international level.

For all the stick Gareth Davies gets, and he does have his limitations in terms of ruck speed, that's also a coaching and other players issue. He's no a vocal 9 at all which, to be honest, has its uses! But it does mean there are times when miscommunication results in a 2-3 second delay, and that's crucial. But he's definitely improved his speed to the ruck time over the last 2 years, he's also improved his kicking, his passing can be a bit wayward but is generally ok for test level, and then he's one of the most dangerous runners ball in hand in the NH, irrespective of position. It's easy to run him down but I think some posters are forgetting just how good he really is - or they're not really 'seeing' things correctly (or, dare I say it, even watch/play rugby). I don't think the disciplined style of play comes naturally to him - like, say, it does to Murray - but he's worked on that a lot. He's a good spot-blitz defender, he's also good positionally in behind the line.

His big failing tends to be speed of pass from the ruck, where there are many variables, not least if the forwards are set, or if they're protecting the ruck properly. I'd say the lack of speed to his passing is a happy medium between trying to play like Aaron Smith and throwing the ball 10 yards above the first receiver, and setting up the next phase perfectly before throwing the pass that the defensive line has reset.

Tomos Williams appears to have swifter service, so I think a change is needed for Wales, at least to start. But Gareth Davies is a brilliant player to bring off the bench. Hope he shows that tomorrow as well around the hour mark.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:26 am

Very lazy player in the end.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:05 am

miaow wrote: Which isn't the way Antonio et al want to be fed...that's something else altogether...

Can you imagine how much the FFR food bill went up when those boys started getting selected?

No wonder Basteraud got dropped, they couldn’t afford to feed him too.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:36 am

Just how much stick has Gareth Davies been getting? There's been concern over his form, but not much else that I've seen.

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Post by Presuming Ed on Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:39 am

Wales by 15 and with Ireland and England at home, the GS too for that matter.

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Post by miaow on Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:50 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylY9kzs2PGs

Look at him there. Having a little nap by the corner flag. Little snooze for Mike. Little try-scoring, quarter-final winning snooze. Lazy boy...

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:10 am

miaow wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylY9kzs2PGs

Look at him there. Having a little nap by the corner flag. Little snooze for Mike. Little try-scoring, quarter-final winning snooze. Lazy boy...

He nodded off a little after the boys in green did, he was watching them dozing, waiting, their eyelids shutting, as soon as they nodded off he dashed over and went for a snooze by the corner flag..

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac on Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:10 am

France marginal favourites despite 50% bets on a Welsh win according to Oddschecker

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:49 am

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:France marginal favourites despite 50% bets on a Welsh win according to Oddschecker

Trev I think Wales will be happy to be underdogs in this one.

To be honest I think this game will be a shadow of what we are building it up to be considering the weather tomorrow evening in Paris


Last edited by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Pie on Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:18 pm

I hope Ntamack's dad is watching at home, the impacts won't sound so bad from there. I give Romain his due at such a young age but Navidi and Moriarty are going to look to send him into next week.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:30 pm

I just hope this morning that the players aren’t as nervous about the game as I am.

Looks like dreadful conditions in Paris tonight. 30mm rain in an honour and fog.

That said I remember Wales playing Scotland in similar conditions, a few decades ago, and they scored three tries in a very wet, cold entertaining game. I was at the arms park soaked to my bones.


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Post by munkian on Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:41 pm

Metoffice saying 7c with 10% chance of rain - positively balmy
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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:49 pm

munkian wrote:Metoffice saying 7c with 10% chance of rain - positively balmy

Positively tropical

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Post by miaow on Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:25 am

What's everyone thinking scorewise?

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Post by munkian on Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:27 am

03 - 33
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:37 am

I think it’s going to be under15 points to the winner and a three point margin. Conditions at the moment don’t look great. Hope I’m wrong and it’s a try fest.

Wales to win, more settled team in good form.

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Post by The Oracle on Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:38 am

23-29, is my shout.
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Post by The Oracle on Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:38 am

...but wouldn’t be at all shocked if we lost. Just think it’ll be quite close either way.
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