QF3 - Match Thread - Wales v France - 20/10/19 - K/O 8:15 BST

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Post by miaow on Thu 10 Oct 2019, 6:33 pm

First topic message reminder :

Thought I'd get these made nice and early for a few reasons - but one being that we're already now looking ahead to the QFs with several teams having finished their group stage, so it's all heating up for the proper knockout stuff...barring any more disruption.

Wales

QF3 - Match Thread - Wales v France - 20/10/19 - K/O 8:15 BST - Page 2 Welshrugbyfans_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqLAxMOlOd5aBPSsN63muQty33OXnK6NuLBTTCR2e9TgA

Team:Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis; Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones; Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.


Reps: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin


France

QF3 - Match Thread - Wales v France - 20/10/19 - K/O 8:15 BST - Page 2 1444576535803_lc_galleryImage_French_rugby_fans_hold_ba

Team: Medard - Penaud, Vakatawa, Fickou, Huget - Ntamack, Du pont - Ollivon , Alldrit, Lauret -
Vaahamahina, Leroux - Slimani, Guirado (c), Poirot
Bench: Cat, Braille,Sentiano, Gabrillagues, Picamoles, Serin, Lopez, Rattez



Venue: Oita
Referee: Jaco Peyper
AR1: Nic Berry
AR2: Paul Williams
TMO: Marius Joncker


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Post by miaow on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 3:47 pm

Obviously would prefer Barnes, and as he's the best French-speaking ref, seems the obvious choice.

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Post by Taylorman on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 4:54 pm

Shouldn’t matter if you’re good enough. Beware of the French hoodoo. Red Card 2 2011 all over again?

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Post by sensisball on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 7:09 pm

With Fofana out through injury and the French coaches favouring the hugely inexperienced Ntamack at 10 all the cards are stacked in Wales's favour.
If France could pull off a win it would be a massive, massive result. They have some hugely talented players but are not yet able to string a full 80 minute performance. When the pressure comes on Du Pont rises to the challenge but Ntamack goes into his shell. You can't beat Wales without a quality 10 coping with their defense.

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Post by miaow on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 7:40 pm

It would be a massive result if France won, and I think everyone would see that as a huge underachievement for this Welsh side. You never know on the day, and I think we all know Wales will have an arm wrestle up front with a big French pack, but we really ought to be winning, even with DuPont and their flair players.

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Post by Taylorman on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 7:47 pm

World cup, different beast. And France are by far the upset and almost upset kings...

-87 bt faves oz
-95 all but beat SA in the semi
-99 bt ABs
-07 bt ABs
-2011- all but beat AB's.

They may not be the same side but no one will need to tell this side what theyre capable of at this tournament...a French win would not surprise me one bit.


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Post by miaow on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 7:50 pm

The thing you're forgetting is half the team probably weren't born in 87. For both countries. It's largely irrelevant.

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Post by Taylorman on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 7:53 pm

miaow wrote:The thing you're forgetting is half the team probably weren't born in 87. For both countries. It's largely irrelevant.

yes...have heard that before...you go with that thumbsup

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Post by miaow on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 8:00 pm

The games are still 4-5 days away. Keep the WUMming on other countries' games to a minimum please T. It's boring.

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Post by Taylorman on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 8:03 pm

miaow wrote:The games are still 4-5 days away. Keep the WUMming on other countries' games to a minimum please T. It's boring.

C'mon Francais! Laugh

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 10:31 pm

Taylorman wrote:
miaow wrote:The games are still 4-5 days away. Keep the WUMming on other countries' games to a minimum please T. It's boring.

C'mon Francais! Laugh

Francais means French in French.

France is French for France...

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Post by Taylorman on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 11:44 pm

Yes I did know that but couldnt be bothered changing it :-) so I did wonder... thumbsup

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Post by Cyril on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 11:57 pm

You probably meant Allez as well Taylor (along with the rest of us!) 😊

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Post by Pie on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 12:42 am

You always know the ABs are getting nervous when hey start wumming, Taylorman is the same as is this Gimpey bloke....he thinks the NH are colonialist. Well he ought to look at how NZ has over they years turned itself from a team of pasty faced white men to a team that is essentially a PI team by stripping PI talent and bringing it to NZ. Now so organized that players are offered apprenticeships and scholarships to join the AB train while refusing to put any investment into fellow PI rugby by at he very least playing there, thus denying the Tongans, Samoans and Fijians of any hope of competing with the 1st Tier. While Fiji are improving Samoa and Tonga might as well give up the ghost. Shame on NZ, colonialism at its most heinous.


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Post by Pie on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 12:43 am

Oh and yes please Wales MOD please can you stop these idiots deliberately wumming threads.

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Post by Pie on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 12:44 am

Taylorman wrote:Shouldn’t matter if you’re good enough. Beware of the French hoodoo.  Red Card 2 2011 all over again?

2007 and 1999 all over again you mean...if they beat us they will for sure beat NZ lol

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Post by Taylorman on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 1:07 am

Pie wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Shouldn’t matter if you’re good enough. Beware of the French hoodoo.  Red Card 2 2011 all over again?

2007 and 1999 all over again you mean...if they beat us they will for sure beat NZ lol

aha...like they did last time...

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:43 am

Taylorman wrote:
Pie wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Shouldn’t matter if you’re good enough. Beware of the French hoodoo.  Red Card 2 2011 all over again?

2007 and 1999 all over again you mean...if they beat us they will for sure beat NZ lol

aha...like they did last time...

Since the end of 2011 are you even aware of our record versus France? It doesn’t seem like it.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:49 am

At 82% chance of winning, the Stuff Power Ratings make Wales the most likely team to make the semis (and at 54% the most likely to make the final)

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 10:51 am

LondonTiger wrote:At 82% chance of winning, the Stuff Power Ratings make Wales the most likely team to make the semis (and at 54% the most likely to make the final)

I should find stuff like that reassuring, but this is knockout rugby!

I'm happier that we're playing France than England, but I still fear the France we saw glimpses of against Argentina (and on and off during the Six Nations). And while our defence is usually enough to win us games against them, Fiji got a lot of success from passing out of the tackle, and French loose forwards have been passing out of the tackle for as long as I can remember.

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Post by miaow on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 1:21 pm

Mildly confident Wales will get this one right, but to think Wales are already odds on to make a final is naive. We've struggled massively in the final quarter v SA in recent times. Their physicality makes them far from a gimme even if we're leading, same as 4 years ago.

Anyway, pointless thinking about the final too much at this stage. A few more injuries disrupts Wales massively.

Wonder if we'll see JD2 for this game.

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:24 pm

Some exciting games ahead for all of us. I expect Wales to be well prepared hopefully that’s enough

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Post by Taylorman on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:40 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Taylorman wrote:
Pie wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Shouldn’t matter if you’re good enough. Beware of the French hoodoo.  Red Card 2 2011 all over again?

2007 and 1999 all over again you mean...if they beat us they will for sure beat NZ lol

aha...like they did last time...

Since the end of 2011 are you even aware of our record versus France? It doesn’t seem like it.

What that has to do with anything I don't know. In 2007 we were 7 from 7 and had three months earler beaten France 61-10.

Has Wales record since 2011 been that good?

Didnt think so. Its not far off but the scores in some were close.

Point is...never underestimate them. these guys know how to play world cups. Wales not so much.

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:44 pm

Taylorman wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Taylorman wrote:
Pie wrote:
Taylorman wrote:Shouldn’t matter if you’re good enough. Beware of the French hoodoo.  Red Card 2 2011 all over again?

2007 and 1999 all over again you mean...if they beat us they will for sure beat NZ lol

aha...like they did last time...

Since the end of 2011 are you even aware of our record versus France? It doesn’t seem like it.

What that has to do with anything I don't know. In 2007 we were 7 from 7 and had three months earler beaten France 61-10.

Has Wales record since 2011 been that good?

Didnt think so. Its not far off but the scores in some were close.

Point is...never underestimate them. these guys know how to play world cups. Wales not so much.

How many of this French squad played in the last two world cups ?

They have had so much disarray in selection, coaching and tactics that the French we barely comparable from season to season let alone over an eight year period. Wales in that time have had consistent selection, coaching and have evolved with experience of wins and losses.

France have the players and the ability to go to the final, but they desperately need to put in a performance to prove that, they have shown some superb bits and pieces but they haven’t proved any consistency.

History of previous teams abilities have nothing to do with current performance

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Post by majesticimperialman on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:58 pm

This game could well be the game of the week end for me.

Wales have been pretty solid indefence.

France have been a bit it and miss so far, but like the 6ns France all  ways of one good game in them.

Would not like to even think how close this game could be on the score board.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 10:08 pm

At least JD is on the training pitch. Doesn’t seem like he’s doing too much, but it’s more than we could probably have expected at this stage. I hope he’s ready.

I fully accept that France will be strong and recent games don’t mean much, but it’s good to be playing somebody we have got a pretty good record against. If we start well, then I do favour us. Both of our scrums have seemingly struggled, so that could be interesting. Two decent 9s going head to head, if DuPont is fit. I hope our missed tackle numbers drop somewhat and we should be okay.

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Post by Taylorman on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 10:42 pm

Wales are looking good, and consistently good with it, and should win. They deserve to win this. Its just that its a World cup, and sometimes things tends to sway, for whatever reason, in Frances favour.

NZ got burnt badly by France in 99 and 07 and nearly ripped it in 2011 and they were far worse in pool than they have been here.

So in 2015 Hansen left nothing to chance and threw everything at them, fast and full on and didnt relent until they were dead in the water.

If Wales dont do the same France will find a way.

Lamaison was recently saying how the win in 99 was borne from an all in booze session after the quarter, players, coaches etc where they decided there and then nothing was going to faze them vs the Abs and that they were invincible. He scored 28 that day in an unprecedented 33 point unanswered second half blitz.

Thats what France are capable of 'at this tournament'. They grow wings that others don't. Sure those same wings fall off just as quickly but you don't want to be there when thats not the case.

All Im saying is be very aware that of any side France are capable of pulling off something that no one saw coming.


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Post by miaow on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:09 pm

The thing that defines this game for me is actually something T brings up about the ABs - once you beat Wales, they tend to focus really hard on stuffing them next time.

It was true for Fiji in 2011 - that game was huge and there was a lot of focus on putting them away. Same can be said for the last two RWCs as well.

Scotland beat us in 2017 I think, and then we 'battered' them as Gatland said - revenge.

And the same has been true of France since 2011. There's almost a grudge feeling to it. This game's different to playing England or Ireland - they haven't denied us anything, they haven't snuck a win, or been the victors for a painful defeat in the same way.

Even if we leave too much out there to back it up against the Boks the week after, there's no way Wales will lose this game through lack of preparation or knowing how to deal with France. I'd almost go as far to say it's even highly unlikely for Wales to not go through, particularly if Biggar plays. For all the French talent we should be 8 from 8 against them - unfortunately it was a naive/unlucky kick from Warburton on the halfway line as Wales were breaking upfield with minutes to go that somehow rolled out on the full. That led to a scrum 60m back, which led to a penalty, and from there the French cheated the HIA system - and a bite from Huget on North that the French TMO of course failed to show - to make sure they snuck a win against us.

Really, we've basically 'beaten' them every time we've played them since 2011. Cannot let what happened in 2017 happen again, really. Take it out of Peyper's hands - just go and pick them off as they offer up the chances.

I'd expect a strong French start to wilter against Welsh defence, and then points to start adding up, with France deciding to start throwing it about not long after.

Watkin starts this game for me. Any doubts about JD2, don't play him. France are clumsy in contact, Watkin is good defensively, he needs the minutes, and if he's good enough to wear 23, he's good enough to start at 13.

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:10 pm

Taylorman wrote:Wales are looking good, and consistently good with it, and should win. They deserve to win this. Its just that its a World cup, and sometimes things tends to sway, for whatever reason, in Frances favour.

NZ got burnt badly by France in 99 and 07 and nearly ripped it in 2011 and they were far worse in pool than they have been here.

So in 2015 Hansen left nothing to chance and threw everything at them, fast and full on and didnt relent until they were dead in the water.

If Wales dont do the same France will find a way.

Lamaison was recently saying how the win in 99 was borne from an all in booze session after the quarter, players, coaches etc where they decided there and then nothing was going to faze them vs the Abs and that they were invincible.

Thats what France are capable of 'at this tournament'. They grow wings that others don't. Sure those same wings fall off just as quickly but you don't want to be there when thats not the case.

All Im saying is be very aware that of any side they are capable of pulling off something that no one saw coming.

Unfortunately for the good of the game it seems like the top 14 has killed the joie de vive of French rugby that we saw in 99 and 07 against the all blacks. French teams are prozaic and have a solid game plan, if it doesn’t work they often lack a plan b.

This team has some great players no one is going to take this game lightly. They started well vs wales in the six nations they later capitulated.

As I said earlier this is a strong team but their rugby character is not to be compared to the days of Cambrabero, Sella, Rives, Blanco or evening Lamaison

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:14 pm

miaow wrote:The thing that defines this game for me is actually something T brings up about the ABs - once you beat Wales, they tend to focus really hard on stuffing them next time.

It was true for Fiji in 2011 - that game was huge and there was a lot of focus on putting them away. Same can be said for the last two RWCs as well.

Scotland beat us in 2017 I think, and then we 'battered' them as Gatland said - revenge.

And the same has been true of France since 2011. There's almost a grudge feeling to it. This game's different to playing England or Ireland - they haven't denied us anything, they haven't snuck a win, or been the victors for a painful defeat in the same way.

Even if we leave too much out there to back it up against the Boks the week after, there's no way Wales will lose this game through lack of preparation or knowing how to deal with France. I'd almost go as far to say it's even highly unlikely for Wales to not go through, particularly if Biggar plays. For all the French talent we should be 8 from 8 against them - unfortunately it was a naive/unlucky kick from Warburton on the halfway line as Wales were breaking upfield with minutes to go that somehow rolled out on the full. That led to a scrum 60m back, which led to a penalty, and from there the French cheated the HIA system - and a bite from Huget on North that the French TMO of course failed to show - to make sure they snuck a win against us.

Really, we've basically 'beaten' them every time we've played them since 2011. Cannot let what happened in 2017 happen again, really. Take it out of Peyper's hands - just go and pick them off as they offer up the chances.

I'd expect a strong French start to wilter against Welsh defence, and then points to start adding up, with France deciding to start throwing it about not long after.

Watkin starts this game for me. Any doubts about JD2, don't play him. France are clumsy in contact, Watkin is good defensively, he needs the minutes, and if he's good enough to wear 23, he's good enough to start at 13.

Surely as the news says JD2 is fit as are all the backs, clean bill of health, from several sources, several press conferences you shouldn’t still be worried about JD2s slightly swollen knee?

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Post by Taylorman on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:16 pm

Yeah I've found that having last lost to a team is more valuable going into a match than having beaten them...
France really are a the pain in the a... that you just dont need when you're not  looking. 'How on earth did they do that'? is something reserved mostly for the at World cup time. (albeit...especially against us)

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:25 pm

Taylorman wrote:Yeah I've found that having last lost to a team is more valuable going into a match than having beaten them...
France really are a the pain in the a... that you just dont need when you're not  looking. 'How on earth did they do that'? is something reserved mostly for the at World cup time. (albeit...especially against us)

Maybe ten years ago, but not recently.

French rugby has changed.

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Post by Taylorman on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:31 pm

Yes it does look like it, but you can make that ten, twenty and thirty years ago though.

Get what youre saying maes (all I'm saying is....tread very carefully... Fingers Crossed could be just a kiwi thing ).

In fact I'd rather play Ireland than France cos we know what Ireland can bring.

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Post by miaow on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:57 pm

You put too much stake in tournaments that are long gone, T.

The only ones that are relevant are the ones the players and coaches have been involved in. So from 2011, mainly, with the odd player and coach maybe bringing some experience from 07, although its a very different game now.

Everything else is just echoes of a time gone by. As irrelevant as any other facet of culture that's 20 years old can be.

For France, there's basically no-one still there from 2011 - in fact, I'm struggling to think, but is there a single player in the French team from 2011? Picamoles wasn't in that squad, was he? No coaches, either. All the French experience of WCs has been the pretty shambolic 2015 tournament, and then they have 8 years of dross in the 6Ns where they can barely string 40 minutes together, let alone a tournament-winning streak.

This is not the French team of yore. As said, the TOP 14 has stunted rugby's growth in France. It's all joue joue, crunch and grind your way until the ball pops out and disorganised teams take turns flinging the ball around.

If Wales keep hold of the ball, kick well and force France to exit repeatedly, and kick their points to take France out of the game on the scoreboard, they should win fairly comfortably.

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Post by miaow on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:59 pm

maestegmafia wrote:Surely as the news says JD2 is fit as are all the backs, clean bill of health, from several sources, several press conferences you shouldn’t still be worried about JD2s slightly swollen knee?

Just wait and see I suppose. I think JD2 is too important to risk, frankly. If there's any doubt, leave him out.

I'd also like to see more of Watkin as he's never started a pressure game for Wales.

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Post by miaow on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 12:03 am

Also, on the topic of the French and thinking about their broadcasters' ridiculously, overtly biased use of TMOs, and the seemingly prevalent culture of 'cheat at all costs' when it comes to things like HIAs, I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the 2023 RWC? There are many, many things wrong with French rugby, and one of those is fundamental to the way games are ran there for the visiting side. Unbelievable, really. Doesn't happen anywhere ese.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 12:04 am

Taylorman wrote:Yes it does look like it, but you can make that ten, twenty and thirty years ago though.

Get what youre saying maes (all I'm saying is....tread very carefully... Fingers Crossed could be just a kiwi thing ).

In fact I'd rather play Ireland than France cos we know what Ireland can bring.

I don’t see Ireland or France as teams that will surprise, for me the less predictable teams in the last eight are England, Australia and Japan, they could all be brilliant or fall to pieces. France and Ireland are known quantities, they are good teams and certainly are contenders for a semi final spot but we know what game they will play, they don’t have mystery.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 12:06 am

miaow wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:Surely as the news says JD2 is fit as are all the backs, clean bill of health, from several sources, several press conferences you shouldn’t still be worried about JD2s slightly swollen knee?

Just wait and see I suppose. I think JD2 is too important to risk, frankly. If there's any doubt, leave him out.

I'd also like to see more of Watkin as he's never started a pressure game for Wales.

There is no doubt...! He has been cleared fit it’s all over the news. I’d like to see Watkins too, but maybe Parkes could take a rest and get that hand on the mend faster. JD2 is one of the first names on the team sheet.

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Post by miaow on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 12:44 am

I know what you're saying, but we are in an era of fake news! If he is fit, good stuff. But if he 'gets a twinge' or 'fails a late fitness test - just a bit of soreness, nothing too major' on Friday and gets replaced, I wouldn't be too surprised.

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Post by Taylorman on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 2:07 am

Wales 82%, France 18%...geez thats some gap...fair enough... Wales

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 7:55 am

miaow wrote:I know what you're saying, but we are in an era of fake news! If he is fit, good stuff. But if he 'gets a twinge' or 'fails a late fitness test - just a bit of soreness, nothing too major' on Friday and gets replaced, I wouldn't be too surprised.

Fake news is what is attributed to BS artists like Trump and Johnson not the WRU medical staff...! I really don’t understand why you keep inferring that Davies is severely injured with all evidence saying the contrary?

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Post by miaow on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 8:36 am

Not severely injured now, think he's probably ok. Another poster above mentioned he's not doing much in training. That suggests he's not fully recovered, no?

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Post by Oakdene on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 8:48 am

miaow wrote:Not severely injured now, think he's probably ok. Another poster above mentioned he's not doing much in training. That suggests he's not fully recovered, no?

He took part in a 15 minute open training session where he ran in a straight line but did not sharp turning or twisting so no one knows really that the knee is ok.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 9:06 am

Taylorman wrote:Wales 82%, France 18%...geez thats some gap...fair enough... Wales


I can tell you, T'Man, that the vast majority of Welsh fans will not be paying any notice to stuff like this. It's a World Cup game, it's France - who can turn it on in big tournaments, and it's Wales - who can be similarly up and down. I'm hopefully of a Wales win but I'm certainly not feeling over-confident! I think I speak for most Welsh fans there!
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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 2:15 pm

miaow wrote:Not severely injured now, think he's probably ok. Another poster above mentioned he's not doing much in training. That suggests he's not fully recovered, no?

I would suggest that when players come back they are not rushed into full training but I don’t think that means he is therefor injured when everyone says he is not.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 2:32 pm

JD2 has been training this week, but when I seen him he wasn't going at 100%. I think we'll have to wait and see. Were we due to announce our team today, because SA have announced theirs and they are also playing on Sunday.

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Post by whocares on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 4:49 pm

Only uncertainty on French side is Penaud. Otherwise don’t expect any surprises (basically the team that was supposed to play England )

15. Médard ; 14. Penaud or Raka, 13. Vakatawa, 12. Fickou, 11. Huget ; 10. Ntamack, 9. Dupont ; 7. Ollivon, 8. Alldritt, 6. Lauret ; 5. Vahaamahina, 4. Leroux ; 3. Slimani, 2. Guirado (cap), 1. Poirot.

Despite some talent in the back I am clearly struggling to see in which area of the game we could dominate Wales ... wales just have to turn up and force France to make the usual mistake after a few phases.




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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 5:33 pm

I think France will turn up, for at least some of the game. They'll be good at keeping us bay, but even if Wales fall behind then I'm confident we can still come back and win it. I think the French will put all their pacific islanders into the backs and have them run at our almost broken centres. That's a bit of a concern.

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Post by Poorfour on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 6:37 pm

I think the biggest concern for Wales will be if it's wet. The Welsh scrum is one of the weaker ones I've seen, and the French pack is a bit of a blunt instrument but very powerful. If it becomes a game with lots of scrums and Wales get on the wrong side of Peyper, it could be costly and motivate France.
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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 6:43 pm

Wales announce their team at 4am tonight GMT

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/wales-team-announced-france-released-17100722

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Post by miaow on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 6:48 pm

Poorfour wrote:I think the biggest concern for Wales will be if it's wet. The Welsh scrum is one of the weaker ones I've seen, and the French pack is a bit of a blunt instrument but very powerful. If it becomes a game with lots of scrums and Wales get on the wrong side of Peyper, it could be costly and motivate France.

Agreed. Scrums are the key for France to basically mitigate everything else. For Wales, it's putting ball in to the corner - on or off the field - and making France exit. Both could be easy gains for both teams, but the scrum's more fundamental. Big game for Jake Ball as a lock, have to hope we're not hanging on by the time Dillon Lewis is on. There's a case to be made for Elias and/or Carre coming in, but I think Nicky Smith is too good in the loose to drop, and there's no guarantee Dee is significantly worse as a scrummager though he looks a bit underpowered. Big shift for Wyn Jones - 3rd game in 10 days.

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