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Wales v France: powerful Wales can snatch Grand Slam victory

| 17.03.2012

Wales may be the big 2/5 favourites to defeat France at the Millennium Stadium and claim a third Grand Slam in eight years but it promises to be a tense afternoon for Warren Gatland’s men.

Wales may have won every match so far in the championship but the guile and craft we’ve come to expect from them has, in large, been missing.

They’ve been relying on the power rather than the poise of the midfield to get over the gain line – and things don’t look like changing this weekend, with the Welsh sure to exploit the mismatch in the centre between the 6ft 4in Jamie Roberts and the 5ft 10in Florian Fritz.

That’s not to say they don’t have any flair within their team, Rhys Priestland, George North and Leigh Halfpenny are all capable of turning a game while Mike Phillips is always looking to exploit gaps in the opposition defence.

Based on their previous performances against Ireland and England though, France should give Wales at least some opportunity to run over some points.

They were careless beyond belief in their first half against England, while Ireland were also able to take advantage of some sloppy defending before France picked up the draw thanks to a brilliant second half performance.

With France winning all four of the previous meetings between these sides – including their 9-8 win in their World Cup semi final in the autumn – there is no doubt Wales will be in for a tough game.

But this is a resilient and well-drilled Welsh team so backing them to come through and win the match with a -6 point handicap looks very tempting at 1/1.



Richard Anderson