Les Bleus are going to take some stopping as they continue to march towards their first Six Nations title in over a decade, though they can’t rest on their laurels with a trip to Cardiff coming up before hosting a tricky England side in Paris.
Wales have had a poor title defence in truth, with their only victory so far coming narrowly over Scotland and they’re effectively only playing for pride at this point.
A 23-19 defeat to England at Twickenham last weekend ended any hopes of back-to-back titles, and the only real hope they have of restoring any pride with victory here is the fact that they’ll be playing on home soil.
The Dragons have won four of their last five matches against France in Cardiff with home advantage proving critical at this level.
However, France have come on considerably in the last couple of years, while Wales have slightly fallen off the pace under Wayne Pivac, and the most recent meeting between the two here ended 27-23 to France two years ago, while Fabien Galthie’s side have also won the two meetings since then in Paris by contrasting 17 and two point margins.
Wales +10 Handicap
Wayne Pivac’s side have now only won four of their last 11 matches going back to their 32-30 defeat to France in last year’s Six Nations. While all of those victories did come on home soil, it should be noted that they came over Scotland, Fiji, Australia and Canada, none of whom at the moment are on the same level the French are playing at.
It’s now six wins in a row for France, and seven in their last nine. The only two defeats in that run were against Australia when fielding almost an entirely second string side, and even then they managed to win the second of three tests against the Wallabies and kept them within three points in each of the two defeats.
It seems to us a matter of margin of victory for the French here, and while they are indisputably the better side at this point in time, the home advantage Wales have cannot be ignored.
Even in France’s period of dominance over the Welsh after the turn of the Century when they won six of seven matches in Cardiff between 2000 and 2010, only two came by greater than seven point margins, while none have done since.
The handicap line currently sits around the 10 point mark, so on that basis we’re happy to back the Welsh to keep this closer than expected.
WALES +10 HANDICAP
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