France could win the trophy on Super Saturday
France v Wales could be the pivotal game in the Six Nations title race that will be decided on Super Saturday.
France have a chance of winning the trophy but they will face a nervous wait as Ireland play England later in the day. If Ireland lose to England then Fabien Galthie’s side could win it if they get the job done at the Stade de France. But there are some permutations.
Related: How do bonus points work?
These permutations are based on if Ireland lose to England without picking up a losing bonus point for being within seven points of the opposition or scoring four tries. In that case, if France beat Wales with a bonus point they would win the championship.
If France beat Wales without picking up a bonus point they would need to better Ireland’s points difference – Andy Farrell’s men are currently 20 points ahead but, of course, if they lose to England that will take a hit by at least eight.
However, if Ireland lose to England but they do bag a losing bonus point France would have had to have defeated Wales with a bonus point and overtake them on points difference.
France’s aim will be to put as many points on the board as possible to give themselves the best possible chance of winning.
Here is all you need to know about the match.
What is the team news for France v Wales?
France have made two changes to their starting XV with Romain Taofifenua in for Paul Willemse and Uini Atonio back at prop. Atonio has finished his ban which was handed to him for a high tackle against Ireland.
The backs are unchanged with Damian Penaud and Ethan Dumortier the wing pairing once again. Thomas Ramos is at full-back to complete the back three and Antoine Dupont will partner Romain Ntamack.
Wales, meanwhile, have made six changes to their starting line-up. Louis Rees-Zammit starts at full-back for the injured Liam Williams, there is a new centre partnership in George North and Nick Tompkins and Dan Biggar returns to the 10 shirt.
In the forwards, Alun Wyn Jones and Aaron Wainwright start with Taulupe Faletau winning his 100th cap at No. 8.
What have the coaches said?
France head coach Fabien Galthié said: “Two years ago, this Wales side was two minutes away from winning the Grand Slam in our stadium.
“Two seasons isn’t a long time ago and there are players in that side who won three Grand Slams and five (Six Nations) tournaments.
“Whatever happens, the Welsh always put their bodies on the line. They give everything, everything, everything. For a long time, they tormented the France team.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “I think France last weekend put in probably one of the best performances seen in a long, long time. They’re the number two team in the world. They bring a really physical approach to the way they play and they’ve tended to start well.
“So that’s the important thing. We’ve got to go out there and start well, make sure we’re in that arm wrestle with them and give ourselves that opportunity.
“They’re a team that kick the ball a lot, so we’ve also got to make sure that our backfield is right and we’ve got to be good in the air.”
Any interesting statistics for France v Wales?
- France and Wales have competed in 102 matches with France winning 48 times, Wales claiming 51 games and three finishing in draws
- France have won the last four matches against Wales with the last Welsh win coming at the 2019 World Cup
- Taulupe Faletau will become the eighth Welshman to win 100 caps
- France and Italy were tied for the best quick-ball rate in round four with 74%
What time does France v Wales kick-off and is it on TV?
Read more: How to watch the Six Nations from anywhere
The game will kick-off at 2.45pm BST on Saturday 18 March. It will be available for UK fans to watch on ITV1 or stream on ITVX.
It will also be available to listen to on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
The referee for the match will be Nic Berry (RA) with assistants Andrew Brace (IRFU) and Christophe Ridley (RFU). The television match official will be Joy Neville (IRFU).
Related: Six Nations referees
What are the line-ups?
Wales: Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens (captain), Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillion Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Tomos Williams, Owen Williams, Leigh Halfpenny
France: Thomas Ramos; Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Ethan Dumortier; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont (c); Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Thibaud Flament, Romain Taofifenua, Francios Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.
Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Sekou Macalou, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet
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