Rugby World Cup 2019, QF3: Wales prepare for match with enigmatic French side
Wales and France will face off in the third quarter-final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup on Sunday. The winner will play either Japan or South Africa in semi-final 2 a week later.
The Welsh did a clean sweep of Pool D, winning all 4 matches against Georgia, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.
France, on the other hand, put in a lacklustre display throughout the pools. They would have lost their match with Argentina had it not been for a last-minute penalty miss by the Argentines.
Les Bleus finished 2nd behind England but won all three of their completed games. Their final match with England was called off due to Typhoon Hagibis.
In recent times, the Welsh have consistently had the upper hand over France, winning seven of their last eight meetings against Les Blues.
That said, the French have regularly saved their best performances for the knockout stages, which is evidenced in the fact that they have made it to the semi-finals in all but two editions of the Rugby World Cup.
Key Talking Points: Wales
- Wales scored 5 tries in their previous match against Uruguay. Despite this, there were an uncomfortable number of handling errors made.
- The Welsh should have a full-strength squad to choose from, with Dan Biggar and Jonathan Davies returning from injury.
- The starting XV and approach that beat Australia in the pools is likely to be Warren Gatland’s order of the day in Oita on Sunday.
Key Talking Points: France
- Senior French players like Maxime Medard and centre Sofiane Guitoune have admitted that there are creases to be ironed out before the big clash.
- Despite a poor showing in the pool stages, the French may well come alive in the knockout stages. In 2015, they reached the quarter-finals and went all the way to the final in 2011.
- The French will have enjoyed a longer turnaround than the Welsh due to the cancellation of their final pool match.