France comprehensively beat Wales 38-21 in the first Six Nations warm-up match on the back of another star performance by scrumhalf Antoine Dupont in Paris.
What started out as a promising evening for Wales ended in tatters as Teddy Thomas chip kicked Dan Biggar to ice the match with a superb piece of individual skill, France’s fifth try of the night.
The visitors had raced out to early 10-0 lead through a try to Leigh Halfpenny but the destructive Dupont took over for France, scoring two tries to lead his side to a 21-13 lead at halftime. He laid on another for Charles Ollivon for the first score in the second half to put Wayne Pivac’s men into a deep hole they couldn’t get out of.
The loss was Wales’ fourth consecutive under new coach Wayne Pivac, who had previously led the side to 1-3 in his first Six Nations campaign earlier this year.
Despite the match being the first in over seven months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, online many Welsh fans were quickly losing confidence that Pivac is the right man for the job.
After losing Gatland and defence specialist Shaun Edwards, their defence has become a concern for fans. They conceded 30 points or more for the second consecutive match which fans described as ‘disorganised’, ‘woeful’ and ‘very easily beatable’.
Welsh defence is shocking!!! Who on earth decided to not keep Shaun Edwards? They look slow disorganised and one dimensional… it’s not even a good dimension ? #FRAvWAL ?
— Ijan Davies Emrus (@Ian_ocean1) October 24, 2020
This is what happens when you go from being with Shaun Edwards to against Shaun Edwards ? #FRAvWAL
— Owen Jenkins ??????? (@OJ_Hay) October 24, 2020
Unless things improve in the next few games, there needs to be a new coaching team in place for the 6 nations. Defence has been woeful and all other aspects have been getting worse in each game! #FRAvWAL
— Darren Sterry (@darrensterry) October 24, 2020
Disappointed is an understatement. Soul destroying match from a Welsh perspective. Well played France, fantastic effort. Utterly ruthless ??????????#FRAvWAL
— Ben Jones (@BenThomasJones) October 24, 2020
— Sam (@Sam_Tweets1) October 24, 2020
I’m at a loss as to what Wales’s defensive strategy is. I think the players are too. Missed tackles are one thing, but some rush, others don’t and it’s been full of gaps. #FRAvWAL
— Dai Roberts (@dairoberts) October 24, 2020
Disappointing performance from Wales. Feel like we’ve regressed a bit with a Biggar and Halfpenny helmed kick and chase game plan. Some very concerning defensive lapses with players shooting out of the line allowing quality players to pick off the gaps too. #FRAvWAL
— Bedwyr Gullidge (@BedwyrG) October 24, 2020
How did we get from probably the best defence in the world to this in a year? #FRAvWAL
— Fergus Llewelyn Turtle ??????? (@the_FLT) October 24, 2020
Pivac was supposedly brought in for his attacking rugby but so far we’ve seen none of that. #FRAvWAL
— Mr G (@Griffy99) October 24, 2020
#FRAvWAL any talk of AWJ going on the lions tour died tonight. Way way past his best and has been schooled all night. Wales are truly terrible Bigger, North, AWJ, Shocking
— Somerset Bear (@SomersetBear) October 24, 2020
#FRAvWAL Wales are poor defensively, cannot retain or control possession, ineffective at the breakdown, poor physically, lack awareness or creativity and overall are pretty sh*te
— O L Jenkins (@owainsworld) October 24, 2020
Forget the railways, Wales needs to nationalise Shaun Edwards. #FRAvWAL
— Ifan Morgan Jones (@ifanmj) October 24, 2020
Genuinely time to get rid of Wayne Pivac. Wales are abysmal with him in charge. #FRAvWAL
— Mr G (@Griffy99) October 24, 2020
A few calls for Pivac to be replaced by fans were made, with one fan saying ‘the next few games’ is all Pivac has to prove his mettle otherwise a new coaching staff will be required. Many lamented the loss of Shaun Edwards, who had turned Wales into one of the best defensive sides in the world before taking up a role with France.
Alun Wyn Jones, who equalled Richie McCaw’s record for most test caps in the match, said there were a ‘few more gears to go up’ for the side after loss on ITV’s post-match interview.
“We had a dream start getting that score. We had territory and possession in the second-half but France had us on the counter-attack,” he said.
“In these strange times, we’re fortunate to take to the field but we need to get better. There’s a few more gears to go up.”
Wales have a final round clash with Scotland to finish their Six Nations campaign to try and earn back some respect while France will play Ireland in a crucial final round match where bonus points and points differentials could play a part.
Ireland are sitting on 14 competition points, one ahead of both England and France on 13. Eddie Jones’ side will play the bottom placed Italy where a bonus point victory is on offer, which would mean Ireland need to do the same against France to maintain first place outright.
If Ireland beat France without a bonus point and England secures theirs, it will come down to the points differential between the two sides. For France to win, they must beat Ireland and better England’s result against Italy.
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