After Wales overcame a 16 point deficit to beat France, it wasn’t entirely clear whether they had earned their victory or were gifted the win through French mistakes. The answer could determine whether Gatland’s men can keep their win streak alive and forge a path to the 6 Nations title. Let’s start our France v Wales analysis with what Wales did right from the start.
France v Wales Analysis | How the Welsh attack (almost) fired
Wales movement in attack was showing promise early on. Here they manufacture a gap for Liam Williams to ghost through. Below he is getting into position.
As we have discussed in a previous article, the Welsh forwards a great at playing heads up rugby. Here Owens fires a pass out the back to set up the move.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come off for Wales due to a small knock on from Williams. But the underlying movement is sound.
Williams would continue to slice France apart on kick returns as well. As Wales will soon be playing sides like England who kick regularly in their own half, kick returns like the one below are positive.
While Wales looked destructive during these passages and were making the case for deservedly winning this game, they made uncharacteristic errors elsewhere.
France v Wales Analysis | the many Welsh mistakes
Wales were very rusty during what should be normal plays for an international side. Here Anscombe waits for an age to throw the pass and Wales lose the ball.
Wales’ rusty play continues as Tomos Williams lets the ball slip from his hands in the wet. This doesn’t look like the play of deserved winners.
And a final example here is Navidi dropping a pass cold. These are all skills that should be bread and butter to an international side, even in the wet.
Some mistakes might be expected in a pressure game like this, but certainly not this many. Wales could not build a real attack outside of Liam Williams line breaks. To score points here they would need to rely on French mistakes instead, with the win coming courtesy of an intercept try from George North. In the article below we discuss just how the French threw this game away.
So Wales weren’t looking great for large parts of the game, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve from here to challenge for the 6 Nations title. Here are some signs they can do better this week against Italy.
France v Wales Analysis | why Wales will improve
Wales’ star players began to pick up a lot of the slack in the second half. Here they start to play off 9, and Davies makes a break.
On the next phase, Biggar calls for the ball and takes it upon himself to make metres instead of waiting for forwards to set up. They’re playing very simple rugby by running off 9 again. The difference is, players are now taking responsibility for moving Wales forward.
Wales experienced heads continued to show up in this scrappy game, motivating their team to stay in the contest. Below Alan Wyn Jones stays composed and lets the ref know this is a maul. A Welsh turnover results.
These moments may not have directly won the game for wales, but they did keep them in contention. Wales came out after half-time with a far more physical defensive line and an improved killer-instinct. They fought right to the end.
If Wales had given up and reverted back to their first-half tactics, this winning moment would not have been possible.
So it’s looking like Wales won this game mostly through luck. But they say you make your own luck. And in this game, Wales proved that to be true.
The 1014 Rugby reviewed all aspects of Wales performance in significant detail over on their YouTube channel. See the following video for more information.
Will Wales produce a more polished display against Italy? Let us know your thoughts below.
Author: The 1014 Rugby and Henry Stokes