Wales vs France: Can Les Blues Extinguish Welsh Dragon Dreams?

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TournamentSix Nations
TimetableFriday 11th of March at 20:00 GMT
PredictionFrance to Win
OddsFrance to Win @ 1.18
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A bit of a change for the Six Nations 2022, as the Wales vs France game will take place on a Friday, at the Principality Stadium. With France steamrolling their competition so far, do Wales have any chance of defending home turf and putting a dent in the French campaign? Let's take a look at this preview and see how the Wales vs France betting odds stack up.

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Background on Wales vs France

This is another match with a long history, having first kicked off in 1908. A few rugby fans, especially Wales rugby fans, may be surprised to learn that France have claimed the most victories in that over-hundred-year period, but the results are still tight, given that only four wins separate the sides - 51 to France, 47 to Wales, and three draws. In the Six Nations Championship, the margin is closer still: France have taken the honours against Wales only twice more. I feel this shows that this match is going to come down to a lot more than history, so let's take a look at some of the other divisive factors.

Six Nations Results So Far

A look at recent form always gives a good indication of team strength in both ability and mentality. Let's take a look at how Wales and France have performed in the first three weeks, to see whom has the upper hand before the starting whistle.

Wales Results

MatchScoreWinner
Ireland vs Wales29-7Ireland
Wales vs Scotland20-17Wales
England vs Wales23-19England

France Results

MatchScoreWinner
France vs Italy37-10France
France vs Ireland30-24France
Scotland vs France17-36France

Analysis of Results

France can have no complaints about their form, going into this clash: three wins out of three is a condemning sentiment for Wales, who have only managed to grab a single victory themselves.

If you had to put your money on anyway, based on form alone, I think the results speak for themselves. Do Wales have a counterargument though? Perhaps last year's match may offer a clue to an alternative perspective.

Performance in the Six Nations 2021

Wales did manage to claim the title in the Six Nations 2021, but they were robbed of the ultimate prize, the Grand Slam, by France. Last year's match was a close-fought affair, with the final score standing at 32-30. Given that France managed to steal away the win from a Wales side that seemed indomitable last year, it doesn't bode well for the Welsh, given their performances in this year's competition. Based on last year, it would seem this is still France's game to lose.

World Rankings Updated 2022

The world rankings have been updated since the start of the competition, and it may be important to have a look at the new standings, to gauge any clues as to how World Rugby sees the two teams.

New World RankingCountryOld World RankingShift
1South Africa1No change
2New Zealand2No change
3France4+1
4England3-1
5Ireland5No change
6Australia6No change
7Wales8+1
8Scotland7-1
9Argentina9No change
10Japan10No change

Both Wales and France have managed to climb an extra place in the standings, but I would still have to give this game to newly third place, France, over Wales, four places behind. That's not to say that basing any prediction on the world rankings is a full-proof plan, but it is certainly another indicator of a potential French win.

How Players Have Scored in the Six Nations 2022 So Far

Something I haven't looked at so far, which I believe can give us an interesting preview of the final score, is how each sides' players have scored so far. By looking at each team's ability to stick points on the board, I believe we can assess attacking quality and the key playmakers that will thus bring victory.

Welsh Players

PlayerNumber of TriesNumber of ConversionsNumber of PenaltiesNumber of Drop GoalsTotal Points
Dan Biggar024119
Josh Adams10005
Taine Basham10005
Tomas Francis10005
Kieran Hardy10005
Nick Tompkins10005
Callum Sheedy01002

French Players

PlayerNumber of TriesNumber of ConversionsNumber of PenaltiesNumber of Drop GoalsTotal Points
Melvyn Jaminet068045
Damian Penaud300015
Gabin Villière300015
Gaël Fickou200010
Cyril Baille10005
Jonathan Danty10005
Antoine Dupont10005
Anthony Jelonch10005
Yoram Moefana10005
Romain Ntamack01002

Analysis of Points Scoring

To start with, it's not a great sign for Wales that Jaminet has scored 45 points alone, when Wales have scored 46 as a team. France have also managed to bring in a lot of different players into the attacking play, which is why they have had a variety of try-scorers in their tally.

There is one thing that Wales could exploit, however, if they used these numbers and looked at France's previous matches: France adores back play. Look at where they are scoring the points, shut them down in those areas, and France would falter in 80 minutes of concentrated defence of the wings and counterplay. Wales have talented players that have the ability to slice through a gap at pace like a hot knife through butter, but I fear they are not going to have the sort of well-organised defensive line that allows for such quick turns of possession. With that in mind, I fear that any possible Home Nation's victory is going to be stamped out by a rampant Dupont pulling all of the strings on the pitch.

The 16th Man: The Effect of the Home Crowd at the Principality Stadium

The one key thing that gives Wales any edge, going into this match, is the undying love of their fanbase. The Welsh and Wales rugby fans love the sport, and they certainly grab any chance they can get to see the boys in red play.

I suspect it's going to be one of those events where anybody squeamish about passionate rugby fans in full swing will need ear defenders, because France will not leave the Principality Stadium without hearing what the crowd has to say

Do I think this will tip the balance in Wales' favour? I doubt it. These kinds of games have a way of surprising you though.

My Wales vs France Prediction Winner

My gut says that this is going to be a close match, so do the betting sites but it's hard to argue with the overwhelming stats that suggest France are going to walk over Wales. I would love to see the Welsh put up a good fight, as it's always a more exciting match when it's close. The truth is that the stats and betting odds are right: France are going to run away with this one, as they have ran away with this year's Six Nations competition. I can now see this being step four in what is likely going to be a Grand Slam year for France.

Steven Brown - Rugby Coach and Writer

steven-brown

This prediction was written by Steven Brown.

Steven grew up in the football-mad town of Cannock, Staffordshire, in the UK, but he was introduced to rugby at the age of 11. He was a keen player in his youth, and went on to set up a successful sports agency, working with rugby stars such as Leicester legend and England captain, Martin Corry.

Steven’s great love for the game has also led him to exemplary coaching success, having coached men’s and youth teams in the UK, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Malta. Two of his personal highlights from his time coaching came in the form of having six All Blacks lead a one-and-a-half-hour coaching and QA session for an U14s team he had helped to set up and a Best Coaches conference where he had the privilege of talking rugby with a coaching idol of his, Graham Henry. Steven is now pursuing his love of coaching once more, back in the UK.

You can follow Steven Brown on his Linkedin.

France to Win