Warren Gatland’s under-fire Wales side head to France to close out their 2023 Six Nations campaign, having picked up their first win of the tournament in Rome last time out. It’s been a real test both on and off the field for the returning head coach, however Wales’ performance against Italy will spur the team on against a France side who simply have to win if they’re to have any chance of retaining their Six Nations crown.
In the first three rounds of the tournament, France had been playing like a completely different side to the one which stormed to the 2022 Grand Slam, however things finally clicked into gear, to put it mildly, against England at Twickenham, as Les Bleus recorded the biggest and best win the tournament has seen for many a year.
Shaky performances in close-run wins over Italy and Scotland, either side of a 32-19 dispatching in Dublin, were all soon forgotten in south-west London as Les Bleus outscored their shell-shocked hosts by seven tries to one, the first of which came inside the opening minute. Thomas Ramos’ score was followed by two apiece from forwards Flament and Ollivon, and Damian Penaud’s late brace rounded off an historic afternoon for France, inflicting a record home defeat for England and doing so in some style.
It also took Wales until their fourth match of the tournament to really hit their straps, with Warren Gatland’s side recording their first win of 2023 to leapfrog Italy at the bottom of the table. Wales hardly laid a glove on Ireland, Scotland and England respectively, racking up three consecutive defeats to their Triple Crown rivals, but finally showed some composure and execution to defeat Italy in Rome, recording a bonus point in the process.
🇫🇷 Cymru vs Ffrainc encounters always see moments
🥂Remember Tips’ chip through leading to a Josh Adams score in 2021?#WelshRugby | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/BEn1LcZ58E
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) March 14, 2023
Three first-half tries from Rio Dyer, Liam Williams and a penalty gave the visitors a handsome 22-3 lead at the break, and Taulupe Faletau’s second-half score, set up by man-of-the-match Rhys Webb on his return to the starting side, sealed the bonus point. The number eight’s five-points came in between two scores from Italy, whose poor execution in the Welsh 22 allowed Gatland’s side to see out a comfortable victory.
Having scored seven tries in their Twickenham victory, France need a mere four to temporarily overtake Ireland in the championship race. If they can do that prior to the final game between Ireland and England in Dublin, they’re well within a chance of keeping the title they Grand Slammed their way to in 2022. However, Gatland’s time in the Wales dugout has shown that they can never, ever be written off, setting up an almighty showdown in Saint-Denis.
MORE: France demolish England to record humbling victory at Twickenham
𝗥𝗘𝗧𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗔𝗨 𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗗𝗘 𝗗𝗘 𝗙𝗥𝗔𝗡𝗖𝗘 🏟️🥳
Qui sera là ? 😁 #FRAPDG #XVdeFrance @StadeFrance pic.twitter.com/gLTpreYpFD
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 14, 2023
France vs Wales kick-off time
France host Wales in the Six Nations at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France. The game kicks off at 2.45 pm. GMT on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Here are the kick-off times for this game around the world:
|UK||Sat, Mar. 18||14:45 GMT|
|Australia||Sun, Mar. 19||01:45 AEDT|
|Canada||Sat, Mar. 18||10:45 ET|
|New Zealand||Sun, Mar. 19||03:45 NZDT|
|USA||Sat, Mar. 18||10:45 ET|
|India||Sat, Mar. 18||20:15 IST|
|Singapore||Sat, Mar. 18||22:45 SGT|
|Malaysia||Sat, Mar. 18||22:45 MYT|
|Hong Kong||Sat, Mar. 18||22:45 HKT|
France vs. Wales live stream, TV channel
Here is how to watch the match in some of the major territories:
|USA||—||fuboTV, Peacock, CNBC|
|UK||ITV 1||ITV X|
|New Zealand||—||Sky Sport NOW|
|India||—||Premier Sports Asia|
|Hong Kong||—||Premier Sports Asia|
|Malaysia||—||Premier Sports Asia|
|Singapore||—||Premier Sports Asia|
USA: All games are streaming live on Peacock and will also be available through fuboTV. However, they will also be repeated on CNBC on delay, usually by a couple of hours.
Canada: All games are streaming live on DAZN.
UK: The tournament will be shown on BBC and ITV, with S4C also broadcasting in Wales. This match will be shown on ITV 1.
Australia: Six Nations coverage is provided by Stan Sport.
India: Premier Sports Asia is the main place to watch the Six Nations.
MORE: How France won the 2022 Six Nations Grand Slam
France vs. Wales confirmed lineups
Thomas Ramos is well on course to finish as the championship’s top points scorer in this year’s Six Nations, with his 68 so far more than double the 32 of nearest challenger Finn Russell. The full-back’s early try began an afternoon of free-scoring madness at Twickenham, and Ramos retains the 15 jersey in an unchanged back-line that also features fellow scorer Damian Penaud, who crossed for a late brace against England on the right edge.
France’s only changes come in the forwards, with boulder-esque prop Uini Atonio back at tighthead following suspension for a high tackle against Ireland. He displaces Dorian Aldegheri up front, with Romain Taofifienua coming into the second row alongside Thibaud Flament, who alongside flanker Charles Ollivon scored twice at Twickenham as Les Bleus ran riot.
😍💪 De retour au @StadeFrance dans 3 jours pour le dernier match de ce #SixNations2023 !#FRAPDG #XVdeFrance #NeFaisonsXV
Qui sera là ? 👇😉 pic.twitter.com/umPSdfexNF
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 15, 2023
France starting XV: Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Ethan Dumortier, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Thibaud Flament, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.
France replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Bastien Chalureau, Sekou Macalou, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet.
🤩 Voici 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙧𝙚 𝙚́𝙦𝙪𝙞𝙥𝙚 pour affronter le Pays de Galles pour le dernier match de cette édition 2023 du #SixNations 🏴
📅 Samedi 18.03 | 15H45
🏟️ @StadeFrance #NeFaisonsXV #FRAPDG pic.twitter.com/PoxkxAsjea
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 16, 2023
As he as for all four of Wales’ games in the tournament so far, Warren Gatland rings further changes for this final match, with Wales still able to finish as high as third if other results go their way. Louis Rees-Zammit will look to spring Welsh attacks from the back in place of the injured Liam Williams, with a physical centre partnership of George North and Nick Tompkins picked in an attempt to match the muscle of France in midfield.
🏴 One of the greatest Welsh players of all time to make it 💯 for his country.#AwakenAnticipation | #FRAvWAL pic.twitter.com/lq7PPKmDAQ
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 16, 2023
Taulupe Faletau scored the bonus point-sealing fourth try for Wales in Rome, and the Tongan-born number eight will win his 100th cap for Wales in this fixture, with himself and fellow regular Justin Tipuric joined in the back-row by the returning Aaron Wainwright. Alun Wyn Jones is also back in the XV, and brings with him a world-record 157 caps of international experience, as Wales aim to finish a very difficult tournament on a high.
Wales starting XV: Louis Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.
Wales replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Tomos Williams, Owen Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.
🏴 The @WelshRugbyUnion team to face France in Paris on #SuperSaturday⚡️#AwakenAnticipation | #FRAvWAL pic.twitter.com/Qw3NSMklGb
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 16, 2023
MORE: Six Nations results and standings as ‘Super Saturday’ beckons
France vs. Wales odds
As expected, Les Bleus are heavy, heavy favourites to win this Super Saturday clash in Saint-Denis, with none of our partner bookmakers appearing to give Wales a sniff. The shortest odds of a Welsh victory are BetMGM and Sports Interaction’s +900 and $9.00 offerings respectively, which are both long shots compared to France’s odds.
Both Sports Interaction and Neds have France as short as $1.04 to win, while Bet MGM’s -3300 is the reverse of their +3300 offer on a draw! Sky Bet’s odds are slightly longer but are still only 1/25, with anything other than a home win looking unlikely.
|UK (Sky Bet)||USA (BetMGM)||
Canada (Sports Interaction)