Six Nations – Round 3

Tomorrow will see Ireland welcome England back to Croke Park whilst Scotland battle Italy in the likely wooden spoon contest. Tonight though, under the floodlights at Stade de France, Wales will try to keep their Grand Slam hopes on track against a French side that may be unsettled by their coach’s tinkering. Interestingly, as he did against Ireland, Chabal will start the game rather than play his more effective role [against weaker opposition] as a second half impact substitution. Assessments of the games by Eddie Butler, and RTÉ’s Brendan Cole – “If [the French] win – some sort of heroic rearguard action cannot be discounted – it will be in spite of their coach.” Kick-off 8pm. Half-Time France 13 – 13 Wales. Punishing 1st half ends with France breaking through the Welsh defence to score a well-deserved try. France back to the level they were playing at against Ireland. But, having had the shorter preparation time, we’ll have to wait to see whether home advantage will tell this time. 2nd Half 53mins in. Sustained pressure brings try reward for France. 65min. Missed penalty, but France dominating. 70min. Pressure tells again. 73min. Wales re-awaken and get a penalty. 78min. French defence holding. Final And like Ireland in Dublin, the defence, and French pride, holds out. Welsh mistakes contributed but France deservedly winners. France 21 – 16 Wales.