Wales were outclassed 38-21 defeat to France at the Stade de France. Wayne Pivac’s side put up a limp second half performance in this Six Nations warm-up match.
Lowri Jacob assesses five things we’ve learnt from Wales’ defeat to France.
Wales’ loss is France’s gain
Since arriving at France at the start of the year, Shaun Edwards has made an instant impact on the French defence, with two wins over former team Wales. The French defence was extremely organised following Halfpenny’s try in the 57th second, making things difficult for Wales in attack, whereas the Welsh defence was unorganised.
For a team that once prided itself on its defence, they struggled, allowing the French to run in a total of five tries, some of which Wales could have avoided.
French attack outclassed Wales
France had the whole package; a solid defence and great attacking threat. Creating quick ball, great offloading, and good running lines. The holes in the Welsh defence made it look easy for the French to exploit and score, with a total of 364 metres ran, 18 defenders beaten, 5 clean breaks and 14 offloads.
A 100% kick success made it easier for France to stretch their lead further. Scrum half Antoine Dupont was in excellent form running in two tries, noticing the gaps in Wales’ unorganised defence. And for France’s final try of the game, the chip over the top of Dan Biggar by Teddy Thomas was first class.
Senior players disappoint in Wales defeat to France
Playing a physical side like France, Wales needed its senior players to perform and unfortunately for them some of them did not perform to their great standard. It took George North until the 54th minute to touch the ball and he just couldn’t seem to get into the game.
Despite some good work on the pitch, his lack of game time since his four-match ban was obvious, leaving many questioning what could have been if Gloucester Rugby winger Louis Rees-Zammit had started.
Dan Biggar was also unlike his usual self, having assisted with Halfpenny’s try in the opening moments of the game the injury he has sustained impacted his play massively, missing a total of eight points at goal and a kicking accuracy of 57%.
Wales lacked attacking threat
It was a great start for Wales, starting off with an early score but since that opening try there was no other attacking phase anywhere near the standard of Halfpenny’s try, with their only other try coming from Prop Nicky Smith.
This goes back to how extremely organised the French defence was at not allowing Wales any chances, having only beaten nine defenders and made two clean breaks.
Here's hoping we can start the second half as well as we started the first 👊🏼
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) October 24, 2020
Too many errors in Wales defeat
Pivac’s side allowed France to capitalize from all their mistakes. They allowed France too much time on the ball, losing possession of the ball in critical moments of the game or handing the ball straight back to them.
Wales needed to keep on to possession to create try scoring opportunities and win the aerial battles, which they did not. Although they kept a low penalty count, conceding only four penalties compared to France’s 16, the hosts exploited every opportunity Wales handed to them on a plate.
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac says his side need to "make sure they come out with less mistakes" when they face Scotland. 🏉 pic.twitter.com/j9tpJ8sywS
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) October 25, 2020
Ahead of next week’s Six Nations clash with Scotland, Wales need to brush up on major key areas of their game.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images