Dragons to fire again under Friday night lights.
Two teams with something to prove under the Friday night (spot)lights at Millennium Stadium; Wales that their no-show against Ireland was a one-off, France that they are genuine Championship contenders again after two wins on the spin.
France have not won in their last four Six Nations games on the road, while Wales are looking to secure a hat-trick of successive victories against their Gallic visitors, something they have not achieved for 32 years. Needless to say, on the back of these stats, the home side are favourites in the betting at odds of 3/5.
Despite that defeat to Ireland the holders are still in the mix and victory here could put them on the road to redemption – just as it did last year when they bounced back from defeat to Ireland in their preceding game to topple the French, before going on to take the title outright.
France were fortunate to win against England in the opening round of this year’s 6 nations and, bar a nine-minute, three-try blitz against Italy in the second half, have yet to prove they are the real deal.
What cannot be questioned is the quality Les Bleus possess in midfield with Wesley Fofana providing glimpses of his genius against the Azzurri a fortnight ago. The midfield battle should be worth the admission price alone as the Clermont ace teams up with wrecking-ball Mathieu Bastareaud to take on George North and the bulldozing Jamie Roberts.
Wales may be enduring something of a midfield crisis but they will certainly not be weakened by the employment of North in this department and he should see plenty more of the ball than he did against Ireland.
The returning Luke Charteris in the second row should provide some extra steel, while the Welsh back-row triumvirate of Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau surely cannot be as anonymous as they were last time out. Although they’ll be up against it in the marauding Louis Picamoles and Yannick Nyanga.
Home advantage could sway it and Wales, with a vociferous capacity crowd behind them, should come out on top. Take Wales (-5.5) at 67/50, while a higher scoring second half at evens also looks too good to pass.
The match kicks off at 8pm on Friday evening – enjoy betting on our Six Nations rugby markets!