- France: France go into the final weekend of the championship with an inconsistent run of results. The first four rounds have seen Les Bleus beat Scotland and Italy, but lose to England and Ireland. Having won two and lost two, the French will be seeking victory over Wales to gain some momentum before their summer tour to South Africa to face the Springboks.
- Wales: Like their hosts, Rob Howley’s side have also found consistency difficult in this year’s tournament. Victory over Italy in the opening round was followed by back-to-back losses against England and Scotland before beating Ireland last weekend. With two wins from four – the same as France – this is the final chance for many Welsh players to impress on the Test stage before the 2017 British and Irish Lions squad is named on 19th April.
Some may see this game as a dead rubber given England have already been crowned Six Nations champions, but there’s still plenty to play for in Paris. Guy Noves’ side have made the most clean breaks in tournament (48), beaten the most defenders (111), gained the most metres (2,203), and made the most offloads (56). Whilst they’ve lost at Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium last month, they’re starting to resemble France of yesteryear, and are 5/1 to beat Wales by 6-10 points.
It’s been announced this week Parisian clubs Stade Francais and Racing 92 are to merge from next season, and it’ll be interesting to see whether any of the club’s French Test players will have been affected by this major Top 14 news in the build-up to the game. On the field, France are 8/11 to reach 10 points first against Wales, and in fly-half Camille Lopez – the tournament’s top points scorer with 57 – and Northampton Saint Louis Picamoles, France possess two of the championship’s form players.
Wales won the corresponding fixture 19-10 last season at the Principality Stadium, and although they’re currently an unassailable nine points behind Six Nations champions England, they’ll want to follow up last weekend’s 22-9 victory over Ireland with a triumph over France. The visitors are a tempting 6/1 to claim victory by 1-5 points. George North rediscovered some of his old form with two tries last weekend against Ireland, and the winger could continue his try-scoring exploits on Saturday, with the men in red available at 11/10 to open the scoring with a try.
Given the championship is now gone for both sides, it would be nice to see an open, expansive affair between two teams with nothing to lose. Whilst it’s tricky to predict the outcome between two evenly-matched squads, home advantage may just swing the tie in France’s favour in front of a raucous Stade de France crowd.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: France to win by 7 points – 20/1
*Please note that odds may fluctuate.