It will be the best of times, it will be the worst of times. That’s at least what I am predicting for this Friday, at the Principality Stadium, when all of the action kicks off. Who do I think will triumph in this fourth-week match of the Six Nations, however? Let’s take a look at a break-down of the key factors, going into this clash of the titans.
History of the Team’s Encounters
We have to look just over a century back for the first Wales vs France test. In 1908, Wales was by far the dominant side, racking up a cool scoreline of 36-4. Over the years, however, the total number of matches won by both sides offers a different story, as can be seen from the table below.
|Wins for Wales||Wins for France||Tied Matches|
Overall, the results are close, the four wins differentiating the sides seemingly negligible in the grand scheme of history. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to discount these results, so we should take this as the first sign of a French win.
New World Rankings
World rankings are constantly updated, so it should come as no surprise that we have new data from World Rugby. The table below highlights the new information:
|1 (-)||South Africa|
|2 (-)||New Zealand|
Judging from the updated rankings, you would suspect this to be a pretty close game between two rapidly improving nations. There is some merit to that thinking, but there is another argument to be made, as well: it is a lot more difficult to battle your way into third place than it is seventh, and it requires a lot greater quality. Whilst I think this will be an exciting match between two world-class teams, I also believe it would be foolish that these sides will be evenly matched, based on these rankings; therefore, I think this is sign number two of a win for France.
Results from the First Three Weeks
World rankings can tell you one thing, but I feel that recent form is the most critical factor in predicting the outcome of a rugby match. Let’s have a look how the first three weeks have gone, to see whom out of Wales vs France is more likely to come out the victor.
|Ireland vs Wales||29-7||Ireland|
|Wales vs Scotland||20-17||Wales|
|England vs Wales||23-19||England|
|France vs Italy||37-10||France|
|France vs Ireland||30-24||France|
|Scotland vs France||17-36||France|
There you have it! There’s not a lot you can argue with, when you have three wins from three. I suppose devout Wales rugby fans will be hoping that the men in red will be able to pull off something no team in the Six Nations 2022 competition has managed so far, but with only a third of France’s wins in the competition and only the chance of overall equalling their rival’s current record if many things were to go their way, I think this is going to be lights out on Wales’ campaign and another step towards a potential Grand Slam title for Les Blues.
The 16th Man and the Benefits of Playing at Home
Playing at home is always a wonderful experience for a team: the familiar pitch, the cheering and applause, the sea of shirts in your colours, and much more. There is a huge psychological advantage involved, and Wales will be looking to capitalise this, when they get on the pitch at the Principality. If nothing else, this will be the big factor in Wales’ favour, going into this match, so the fans will be doing everything they can to carry the men in red home. In this way, I would say point to Wales.
Attacking Options Based on Previous Points Scorers
They say that you can win a game without scoring points, so it seems important to have a look at the attacking prowess for both sides so far in the Six Nations 2022, to see if there are any hints at what may be brought to the fore, come kick-off. Below, I have listed the points scorers for both nations over the first three weeks.
|Dan Biggar||19||0 tries, 2 conversions, 4 penalties, 1 drop goal|
|Josh Adams||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Taine Basham||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Tomas Francis||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Taine Basham||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Kieran Hardy||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Nick Tompkins||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Callum Sheedy||5||0 tries, 1 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Melvyn Jaminet||45||0 tries, 6 conversions, 8 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Damian Penaud||15||3 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Gabin Villière||15||3 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Gaël Fickou||10||2 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Cyril Baille||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Jonathan Danty||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Antoine Dupont||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Anthony Jelonch||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Yoram Moefana||5||1 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
|Romain Ntamack||5||0 tries, 1 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals|
Wales can certainly be seen to have a lot of attacking potential, given that they have managed to get six unique players over the line, alongside two kicking efforts, but they do seem relatively lacking compared to the might of France in the first weeks – especially when you consider that Jaminet has booted all but one point difference as a solo effort. From this perspective, I worry that opportunities for Wales are going to go wanting, compared to how France will utilise the dynamic playmaking abilities of their nine and ten to create the space needed for their wingers to keep pinging points on the scoreboard from the corner.
My Overall Wales vs France Match Prediction Winner: Shaping up to Be Four from Four?
There is a lot in France’s favour, at the moment, so it is difficult for me to imagine any scenario where Wales will take the win. I think the first half will be hard fought, but that Wales will crumble in the second 40 minutes due to a lack of discipline and fitness compared to a better regimented French side. For me, this one is as predictable as they come, and Les Blues are going to claim all five points on offer (try bonus included). Still, I live to be proved wrong. Maybe Wales will pull off a miracle. I doubt it, though – and I think even Welsh fans would be surprised to see it happen.
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