Targeting Priestland will give France chance of Wales victory
Wales may be the big 2/5 favourites to defeat France and claim the Grand Slam in Cardiff this Saturday, but the visitors have every chance of springing a surprise.
France have an excellent record in the Six Nations, winning three Grand Slams and two championships since Italy were introduced into the tournament in 2000.
They have also won all of their previous four encounters against the Welsh – including their 9-8 Rugby World Cup semi-final win in the autumn – and five of their last six in Cardiff.
Despite their loss against England at the weekend and their disappointing draw with Ireland the previous week, with such a good record against Wales, Les Bleus should not be discounted.
France can also take heart from the way both England and, especially Italy, were able to keep the marauding Welsh at arm’s length for much of their games.
Italy’s well organised defensive line was fantastic at stopping the Welsh and caused the normally solid and dependable Rhys Priestland into a stuttering performance littered with moments of indecision.
If France can stop Wales getting quick ball and put pressure on Priestland – who also made several large errors in Wales’ narrow victory against England – then they are in with a very real chance of getting a victory at the Millennium Stadium.
Italy may have lacked class in the backs when they eventually secured some ball of their own but that is not a problem the French will have.
Wales are the rightful favourites and it will take an excellent performance from the French to get the win, but a punt on them at 2/1 to get the straight win may be worth serious consideration.