Wales v France LIVE: Result and reaction from Six Nations clash as hosts wilt under second half pressure

 (David Davies/PA Wire)
(David Davies/PA Wire)

Wales succumbed to another Six Nations defeat after a blazing show in the second half saw France power their way to a 21-point victory in Cardiff.

An open first half fluctuated between the teams as both sides made repeated mistakes allowing the other to score. Wales opened the scoring with an early penalty - ably kicked by Sam Costelow - before the visitors responded with three points of their own. As both attacks proved to by clinical, the lead switched hands four times with Les Bleus taking a 17-20 lead into the break.

Warren Gatland’s team talk inspired a fine start to the second half as Joe Roberts dove over for another try but from there it was all France. The visitors spent quarter of an hour or so camped inside Wales’ 22, scoring two tries and a penalty kick to extend themselves beyond Wales’ capabilities.

A last minute try from Maxime Lucu put the icing on the cake and France ran away 45-24 winners in a much needed successful result.

Relive the action from the Six Nations below plus get the latest odds and tips right here:

Wales v France LIVE: Latest updates from Six Nations

  • Wales heavily beaten by France in the fourth round of the Six Nations, live on BBC One

  • 80’ TRY! - Maxime Lucu goes over the line in the last act of the game (WAL 24-45 FRA)

  • 74’ PENALTY! - Another kick sunk by Ramos (WAL 24-40 FRA)

  • 69’ TRY! - Romain Taofifenua secures a bouns point for France (WAL 24-37 FRA)

  • 65’ TRY! - Georges-Henri Colombe scores his first try for France (WAL 24-30 FRA)

  • 61’ PENALTY! - Ramos brings France within one point (WAL 24-23 FRA)

  • 43’ TRY! - Roberts rolls over for Wales’ third try (WAL 24-20 FRA)

  • 28’ TRY! - Nolann Le Garrec scores and puts France back ahead (WAL 17-20 FRA)

  • 25’ TRY! - A second try for Wales puts them back in front (WAL 17-13 FRA)

  • 22’ TRY! - Gael Fickou gets over the line on the right wing (WAL 10-13 FRA)

  • 15’ PENALTY! - Ramos cuts the deficit to four (WAL 10-6 FRA)

  • 9’ TRY! - Rio Dyer collects a loose ball and darts over the line (WAL 10-3 FRA)

  • 7’ PENALTY! - Thomas Ramos draws France level (WAL 3-3 FRA)

  • 2’ PENALTY! - Sam Costelow smokes over for the first points (WAL 3-0 FRA)

France overpower Wales in timely reminder of their brutal beauty

16:58 , Mike Jones

Rumours of France’s demise appear to have been exaggerated. This will not be a Six Nations to remember for Fabien Galthie’s side regardless of how they fare against England next week, the title all but out of reach even with a bonus point victory here in Cardiff, but this was a timely reminder of some of the brutal beauty that so characterised their build towards the home World Cup.

A clash of French Goliaths and Welsh Davids ending with the travelling titans standing tall. Wales had ducked and weaved so impressively for 60 minutes, opening up an advantage over their visitors, but it always felt like a haymaker might come.

France overpower Wales in timely reminder of their brutal beauty

Wales coach Warren Gatland:

17:19 , Mike Jones

“We were up 24-23 but we didn’t manage the game with turnovers and we’re disappointing with some soft points given away.

“We probably overplayed. When we were down by six points and you’re thinking just play territory make it easy for yourselves but we hurt ourselves and not played well enough in that last period.

“France put our scrum under pressure, that’s something we’ve been working hard on and we’re not there at the moment. I thought our lineout was excellent and our line speed could have been better.

“The plan was if we went multiple phases then we’d cause them lots of problems and we did.

“But we didn’t help ourselves with some of the mistakes for us.”

Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins gives his reaction:

17:18 , Mike Jones

“We felt like the French would fatigue later on with their big pack. It didn’t go to plan but we’ll look at it and come back next week. We were excited about the physical battle but we definitely came off second best.

“The boys give everything week in week out and I don’t think it was fatigue, everyone will play all day for their country but it’s just the accuracy. Next week is massive for us because we don’t want to finish bottom.

“Italy have won here before so we’re not going to take them for granted but we’ve got to reflect on this game and see how we can be better.”

France captain Gregory Alldritt:

17:15 , Mike Jones

We had a great performance today, we were really frustrated after Italy and wanted to make France proud again so it’s great to do that at this stadium.

“We have a massive massive pack, and we wanted to be tough on the collision.

“We have some really good young players and I’m really proud of them and that Nolan Le Garrec scored a try as well.”

Sam Warburton on the BBC

17:13 , Mike Jones

“The word power was used a lot in commentary and rightly so. You can talk a lot about the fluffy things but when you lose the physical battle then more than often you won’t win the game.

“You saw the warning signs in the first half and Wales were holding on in the game when France’s big ball-carriers were come off the number nine.”

Martin Johnson giving his thoughts:

17:10 , Mike Jones

“The writing was on the wall before the subs were made. Wales were trying to stem that power and as the first half went on the power was starting to tell.

“It was a really mature performance from France. Wales scored their best try at the start of the second half and then almost didn’t see the ball again.”

Reaction from Benjamin Kayser:

17:07 , Mike Jones

“It’s a fantastic victory for France, 45 points at the Principality Stadium doesn’t come every week. The youngsters played well but the bench was huge and it’s about how you use your bench.

“With a 6-2 split, bringing four forwards at the same time was key.”

Jonathan Davies on the BBC

17:04 , Mike Jones

“It’s the dominance and the gainline up front. Wales tried to play wider but in the end, France plugged those gaps and forced Wales into errors.

“Once France reverted to their forward dominance and crashing over the gainline it showed and they came away with points from it.

Full-time! Wales 24-45 France

16:48 , Mike Jones

A wonderful match in Cardiff comes to a close with another defeat for Warren Gatland’s developing side. France ran away with the match in the final quarter and closed out an easy win in the end.

TRY! Wales 24-45 France, (Maxime Lucu, 80 minutes)

16:47 , Mike Jones

A scrum right outside Wales’ try line in the last minute of the game sees France inflict more pain on Wales as they get over the line for a fifth try of the night.

Thomas Ramos misses the kick but it’s a dominant victory for the visitors.

Wales 24-40 France, 77 minutes

16:42 , Mike Jones

For the first time in the last 20 minutes or so Wales get the ball inside the French 22 but give possession away. France are awarded a scrum and they are in no rush to set and get ready for it.

They think this game is over with just three minutes or so remaining.

PENALTY! Wales 24-40 France, (Thomas Ramos penalty, 74 minutes)

16:38 , Mike Jones

Thomas Ramos beautifully curls his kick in between the posts. France have really stepped up the tempo in this second half and they’re earning their rewards.

Wales 24-37 France, 72 minutes

16:35 , Mike Jones

Less than 10 minutes to go for Wales to get themselves back into this match. It’s going to take two tries at least and they need to spend some time in possession.

France look comfortable now, they pinning Wales back and are holding firm, slowing down the play.

TRY! Wales 24-37 France (Romain Taofifenua, 69 minutes)

16:34 , Mike Jones

Romain Taofifenua charges down an attempted kick from Gareth Davies and the ball comes loose deep in Wales’ half. Taofifenua sprints forward and collects the ball before diving for the line and recording France’s fifth try.

It’s a bonus point for them but more importantly they open up a 13 point lead.

TRY! Wales 24-30 France, (Georges-Henri Colombe, 65 minutes)

16:29 , Mike Jones

Wales have done so much defending over the last 15 minutes as the pressure continued to mount on them.

A wide pass out to Damien Penaud gets the winger flying down the wing which gains them valuable field position once more. Georges-Henri Colombe powers over the line to record his first ever try for France.

Les Bleus are ahead again.

Wales 24-23 France, 64 minutes

16:26 , Mike Jones

Harry Latham-Coyle reporting from the Principality Stadium: "An interesting shift in strategy from France having turned down the points moments ago.

“You feel like their new tight five brute squad will continue to earn them field position if they can control the flow of the game - Wales will have to box clever from here to hold on to this narrow lead."

PENALTY! Wales 24-23 France (Thomas Ramos penalty, 61 minutes)

16:24 , Mike Jones

France decide that their scrum isn’t working as well as they’d like so decide to kick for goal. Ramos sends it over the sticks and the French move within one point of Wales.

Wales 24-20 France, 60 minutes

16:22 , Mike Jones

Yes! France engage too early in the scrum and Wales are afforded a penalty. They boot it long and chase the ball up the pitch. It’s a get out of jail free card for Warren Gatland’s men.

Wales 24-20 France, 58 minutes

16:19 , Mike Jones

France though they had scored a third try but their consolation is a rest on the scrum. Another penalty advantage goes their way before another knock on from the visitors means a third effort at a scrum.

Can Wales keep the French out?

NO TRY! Wales 24-20 France, 56 minutes

16:18 , Mike Jones

Wales give away a penalty right under the post and France elect for the scrum. Power is the order of the day as Charles Ollivon and Nolann Le Garrec drive forward.

Gregory Alldritt gets over the line and scores but the TMO spots a knock on and thw France try is ruled out!

Wales 24-20 France, 52 minutes

16:13 , Mike Jones

Danger for Wales as quick and powerful runs from the French see them storm up the pitch and get inside the 10 metre line. France win a couple of penalties but play the advantage in the hopes of getting over the line.

Wales are on the back foot, holding desperately to keep France at bay.

Wales 24-20 France, 49 minutes

16:10 , Mike Jones

Dillon Lewis is on for Keiron Assiratti for Wales. The Welsh scrum is starting to look more comfortable in challenging the French one.

All positive signs for Wales.

Wales 24-20 France, 46 minutes

16:06 , Mike Jones

That’s just the start Wales would have been after. They’re back in front now and will hope to extend on this lead.

Close! France overrun the ball and fling it forward to Leo Barre who breaks through the defence. He sees open road in front of him but the whistle goes for the forward pass and Wales are awarded the scrum inside their own half.

TRY! Wales 24-20 France, (Joe Roberts, 43 minutes)

16:03 , Mike Jones

Wales have come out with some intent to play the ball into the wider areas. They find some joy to get up the pitch before Sam Costelow bursts into space. He’s brought down but Wales move quickly.

They utilise an extra pass to get the ball to Joe Roberts who drives for the line and rolls over to score Wales’ third try.

Second half! Wales 17-20 France

16:00 , Mike Jones

Wales kick off the second half. During this Six Nations campaign Warren Gatland’s team have grown into matches and tend to score most of their points in the second half of games.

Can they build some pressure on France?

HT Wales 17-20 France,

15:59 , Mike Jones

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (David Davies/PA Wire)
(David Davies/PA Wire)

Half-time! Wales 17-20 France, 40 minutes

15:46 , Mike Jones

A potential break for France comes to an end after a forward pass out to the wing. The whistle goes to end the first half and Warren Gatland will be pleased.

His team are still in the contest though the match is quite loose and open.

Wales 17-20 France, 38 minutes

15:43 , Mike Jones

Wales have had to do quite a bit of defending and that’s beginning to wear on them as half-time approaches. Defensively, both teams have made errors and seem very leaky.

It’s making for an entertaining match with France arguably the more composed is possession of the ball.

Wales 17-20 France, 35 minutes

15:39 , Mike Jones

Harry Latham-Coyle reporting from the Principality Stadium: "This bonkers, brilliant weekend of Six Nations action just keeps on delivering.

“I'm not sure either defensive coach will be particularly happy with their side's efforts without the ball so far but both Wales and France have played some lovely stuff in attack, delighting both the home crowd and a healthy, vocal contingent of French fans."

Wales 17-20 France, 32 minutes

15:37 , Mike Jones

What a first half this has been. France are the more aggressive and seemingly more skilled team but simple mistakes have kept Wales in the contest.

A flying drive down the left wing almost gets France in for a third try but Louis Bielle-Biarrey is ankle flicked and Wales win a lineout.

TRY! Wales 17-20 France, (Nolann Le Garrec, 28 minutes)

15:35 , Mike Jones

Wales are on the back foot following a scrum just ahead of their try line. France move the ball quickly down the line and drive forward taking a tackle.

The hosts are still trying to set themselves as Nolann Le Garrec picks up the ball. He nips into a gap and grounds the ball with ease. France go ahead.

TRY! Wales 17-13 France, (Tomos Williams, 25 minutes)

15:29 , Mike Jones

Owen Watkin throws the dummy and bursts through the France line as Thomas Ramos is too weak with an attempted tackle. Watkin draws in the full back before slipping the ball across to Tomos Williams who sprints for the line.

Sam Costelow converts, Wales are back in front.

TRY! Wales 10-13 France, (Gael Fickou, 22 minutes)

15:25 , Mike Jones

A superb combination of power and finesse from France draw in Wales’ two centres before sweeping the ball across to Gael Fickou on the right wing.

He steps inside and lunges for the line to score France’s first try.

Wales 10-6 France, 18 minutes

15:21 , Mike Jones

Wales steal a lineout to the applause of the onlooking fans. They spread the ball down the line but France’s defensive is brilliant and they turn the ball over immediately.

It’s been a strange and almost manic start to this match with neither team having settled yet.

PENALTY! Wales 10-6 France (Thomas Ramos penalty, 15 minutes)

15:17 , Mike Jones

France decide to kick from the penalty and Ramos is bang on the money once again. The deficit is down to four now.

Wales 10-3 France, 13 minutes

15:16 , Mike Jones

Sam Costelow converted the kick after the try and extended Wales’ lead to seven points. The travelling France fans are a little shocked by this start, it’s another case of their side not living up to their potential.

Following a knock on turnover, France power over Wales in the scrum, they stand up the front line and earn themselves a penalty in a good area of the pitch.

That’s an error from Wales.

TRY! Wales 10-3 France (Rio Dyer, 9 minutes)

15:14 , Mike Jones

Shocking from France.

As Wales sweep forward the ball is offloaded poorly. It bounces and bobbles before being scooped up by Rio Dyer and kept alive.

He dips a shoulder and nips around the closest defender with no other French players attempting to stop him. Breezing into space, Dyer leaps over the line and sends Wales back in front.

Wales 3-3 France, 9 mins

15:11 , Mike Jones

The Independent’s Harry Latham-Coyle reporting from the Principality Stadium: "That's a worrying start for Wales defensively, struggling to combat the might of the French ball carriers and unable to consistently get hands on breakdown ball to slow the visitors' flow.

“France, conversely, will be encouraged by their continuity after that early missed connection between Nolann Le Garrec and Thomas Ramos that led to Sam Costelow's penalty."

PENALTY! Wales 3-3 France (Thomas Ramos penalty, 7 minutes)

15:10 , Mike Jones

Just like Costelow, Thomas Ramos sinks his kick right down the middle and the match is all square once again.

Wales 3-0 France, 6 mins

15:08 , Mike Jones

Close! France notch up the phases and threaten on a couple of occassion to break through the Wales line. Nicolas Depoortere shimmies into space but gets dragged down as he spies a gap.

The ball is work across to Gael Fickou on the left but he can’t weave into space either. Some smart, short passes force Wales to react and eventually they give up a penalty of their own.

France will kick for goal.

Penalty! Wales 3-0 France, 3 mins

15:05 , Mike Jones

Deciding to kick for goal, fly-half Sam Costelow makes no mistakes and rattles his kick right down the middle to bring the hosts the opening points of the game.

KICK OFF! Wales 0-0 France

15:03 , Mike Jones

France get the match underway and immediately push to chase the ball high. Wales’ kick comes to Leo Barre who is harried by Tommy Reffell which wins Wales an early penalty.

Six Nations LIVE: Wales vs France

14:59 , Mike Jones

The national anthems are now played just ahead of kick off. France’s anthem La Marseillaise remains an absolute banger. It cannot fail but hype up the players especially when the travelling fans join in and make their voices heard inside the stadium.

Expectedly, the Welsh national anthem is sung louder with heart and feeling.

Six Nations LIVE: Wales vs France

14:54 , Mike Jones

Here come the players.

There are a few nervous looks on the faces of the players though most seem eagerly awaiting kick off. This should be a battling and incredible match in Cardiff.

Who will come out on top today?

Six Nations LIVE: Wales vs France

14:51 , Mike Jones

Wales legend Max Boyce is giving the packed Principality Stadium a joyous rendition of Hymns and Arias which the crowd are joining in with.

It’s a grand part of the build-up to this match with the French fans getting involved too.

Pre-match thoughts from Warren Gatland

14:50 , Mike Jones

Wales’ head coach said: “There’s been no lack of motivation.

“I can’t question the effort of these players. People are saying it’s a challenge to get them up for the next game, but it’s not a challenge at all.

“They understand the responsibility of putting on that jersey and going out. We’re desperate to get that win.”

Six Nations LIVE: Wales vs France

14:45 , Mike Jones

The fans are excited and ready for this one. Kick off in Cardiff is just 15 minutes away.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)
(Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

Pre-match thoughts from Fabien Galthie

14:40 , Mike Jones

France’s head coach said: “We’ll be better soon. We are going through a difficult time. We are in a period of resilience. It only increases my desire to succeed.

“Thomas Ramos is a leader. We bring him up to fly-half so that he can weigh in with his determination and his knowledge of the game.”

Can Wales lift themselves off the bottom of the table?

14:35 , Mike Jones

Can Wales can take advantage of France’s current underperforming campaign?

Warren Gatland’s team have yet to win in this season’s tournament, raising the potential scenario of a wooden-spoon decider against Italy next weekend if they do not triumph on Sunday.

It is 21 years since Wales last finished bottom of the Six Nations table, although they were fifth in three of the past four seasons.

Antoine Dupont’s Six Nations absence ‘a massive loss for France’

14:30 , Mike Jones

Warren Gatland believes that Antoine Dupont’s absence from the Guinness Six Nations has proved “a massive loss” for France. Les Bleus’ mercurial World Cup captain has joined the sevens circuit ahead of the Paris Olympics later this year.

“It just shows when you are with a team – and we have been lucky enough with this in the past and it is the challenge going forward – that having two or three X-factor players in your team can make a massive difference,” Wales head coach Gatland said.

“Sometimes you get two relatively even teams, but it is the individual brilliance of someone who can change a game. There is no doubt for me that Dupont is a massive loss for them. He is probably the best player in the world.

“We have already seen what he has done with the French sevens team. They won the sevens tournament (in Los Angeles). (Romain) Ntamack is a big loss for them in terms of that nine-10 partnership. It is difficult to put your finger on it.

“They have made some changes. They have probably thought they don’t feel like they can win the Six Nations, so there is a chance to give players in their squad an opportunity.”

Gatland keen to end Wales’ losing streak

14:25 , Mike Jones

Warren Gatland has underlined Wales’ desperation to end their losing Six Nations run this season and claim what would be a statement victory over France.

Even though Les Bleus have produced nowhere near their standards of last year, highlighted by a comprehensive defeat against Ireland and home draw with Italy, they have claimed four successive Six Nations wins at Wales’ expense.

Despite several promising moments in defeats to Scotland, England and Ireland, new-look Wales are nil from three heading into Sunday’s Principality Stadium clash.

We desperately want to win – Warren Gatland keen to end Wales’ losing streak

Wales ‘disappointed’ to lose tight games

14:20 , Mike Jones

Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins said:

“Obviously, we are extremely disappointed to lose games, especially with the tight ones but in terms of staying composed, I think we have built game on game and I feel like we’ve got better.

“We are looking at the quality in the room we have, and we should be winning games, so that is really what we are striving for.”

We desperately want to win says Warren Gatland

14:15 , Mike Jones

Warren Gatland has underlined Wales’ desperation to end their losing Six Nations run this season and claim what would be a statement victory over France.

“We need to win, and that is what Test match rugby is all about,” Wales head coach Gatland said. “We desperately want to win. We feel we have been going OK and we want to try and put a complete performance together.

“We know we are on a journey, but we are trying to fast-track things as quickly as possible. A win on Sunday would be a good stepping stone for that.

“Whether they (France) come here to throw the ball around or play an off-loading game, or whether they go for being a bit more brutal upfront and play for territory, we have just got to make sure we are prepared for anything.

“We are desperate to get that win. We know we are not quite there and there is a lot of work to do, but we have put ourselves in games and put teams under pressure.

“They (France) have got a huge pack, but that is the challenge for us, it is about moving their pack around. We saw what happened to them against Italy, that they do tire and that creates opportunities.”

George North dropped as Warren Gatland makes big calls in Wales team for France

14:10 , Mike Jones

Wales will field a new centre partnership of Joe Roberts and Owen Watkin in the Six Nations clash with France.

They take over from established midfield pairing George North and Nick Tompkins, who have 155 caps between them, at the Principality Stadium.

It will be Llanelli centre Roberts’s first Six Nations start after making his Test debut against England last summer in a World Cup warm-up match.

Elsewhere, Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins has been switched from lock to blindside flanker, with Will Rowlands called up as Adam Beard’s second-row partner, while there is a late change at hooker - Ryan Elias is out, Elliot Dee is into the starting side and the uncapped Evan Lloyd is onto the bench.

Three debutants to start for France as Fabien Galthie rings changes for Wales

14:05 , Mike Jones

Three France starters will make their international debuts as Fabien Galthie rings the changes for Sunday’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Cardiff.

Giant lock Emmanuel Meafou, versatile back Leo Barre and centre Nicolas Depoortere, who captained France’s Under-20s last year, will all earn their first caps in the starting XV.

Scrum half Nolann Le Garrec also makes a first start at international level, while tighthead prop Georges-Henri Colombe is also primed to make a first appearance from the bench.

Gregory Alldritt returns from injury to captain the side at No 8 with Thibaud Flament also fit to feature in the second row. Flament partners Meafou in a lock partnership that has worked well for Toulouse over the last few seasons.

With Matthieu Jalibert injured, another Toulousain in Thomas Ramos slides forward to fill the fly-half breach, allowing Barre to start in a backline containing four players aged 21 or under. Galthie again favours six forwards on the bench.

France start the game in desperate need of victory after drawing with Italy in Lille a fortnight ago to continue a disappointing tournament.

Wales to host England on final weekend of 2025 Six Nations as fixtures confirmed

14:00 , Mike Jones

Wales will host England on the final weekend of the 2025 Six Nations with the fixtures for next year’s championship confirmed.

The two rivals will meet at the Principality Stadium in the middle fixture of “Super Saturday”, with Italy hosting Ireland and France taking on Scotland on the potential deciding day of the tournament.

France will kick off the championship against Wales on Friday 31 January in Paris, with England facing a daunting trip to Dublin and Scotland hosting Italy.

The 2025 tournament will be the last year of BBC and ITV’s shared deal to broadcast the Six Nations in the United Kingdom, with S4C again providing Welsh language coverage.

Wales to host England on final weekend of 2025 Six Nations as fixtures confirmed

Talking points as Wales target Six Nations victory over France

13:55 , Mike Jones

Centres of attention

Wales boss Gatland sprung two major selection surprises ahead of facing France by omitting World Cup centres George North and Nick Tompkins. Joe Roberts makes a first Six Nations start as North’s replacement – with Owen Watkin taking over from Tompkins – and it is a decision that has divided opinion.

There are those who understand the rationale at this early stage of a World Cup cycle to test an alternative midfield partnership, but others have been left baffled that two of Wales’ most consistent performers with 155 caps between them are not required on this occasion.

Masterstroke or misjudgement?

Wales v France

13:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle in Cardiff

Good afternoon from a slightly murky Cardiff, where there are plenty of travelling French fans filling the streets around the Principality Stadium. After a vintage Six Nations Saturday, can these two deliver another championship cracker to send us to the final weekend on a high?

The challenge for Wales will be combatting France’s power game. In Uini Atonio, Emmanuel Meafou, Georges-Henri Colombe and Romain Taofifenua, the visitors can call upon four genuine behemoths with a combined mass approaching 600kg on the tighthead side of their scrum, and all offer plenty in the loose, too. I’m excited to see Meafou in the flesh again - he’s already one of the world’s best locks at club level, and was simply magnificent against Harlequins at the Stoop in the Champions Cup. Watch out for his jackaling hands at the breakdown - though it is hard to miss a man who is the size of a small planet.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Talking points as Wales target Six Nations victory over France

13:50 , Mike Jones

France’s World Cup hangover

France had to cope with huge expectation and pressure to win last year’s World Cup on home soil, but it all ended in devastating fashion through a 29-28 defeat against quarter-final opponents South Africa.

They then saw mercurial captain Antoine Dupont switch to playing sevens ahead of the Paris Olympics and Les Bleus have simply not recovered during an underwhelming Six Nations campaign.

Will a first loss to Wales in Cardiff since 2018 now follow? Neither team has momentum, both sides are in the table’s bottom half, yet France appear to be the ones most vulnerable.

Talking points as Wales target Six Nations victory over France

13:45 , Mike Jones

Winnett is a winner

Heading into the penultimate round of Six Nations fixtures, few players have made a bigger impact on the tournament than Wales full-back Cameron Winnett.

With Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny and Louis Rees-Zammit – all previous options in the number 15 shirt – unavailable to Gatland, he turned to 21-year-old Winnett and it has proved an inspired choice.

Winnett had played only 15 games of professional rugby before gaining a first Wales squad call-up, but after three Six Nations appearances he topped the statistics for metres carried and metres gained and was the highest-ranked back in terms of carries, leaving the likes of James Lowe and Duhan Van Der Merwe in his slipstream.

Talking points as Wales target Six Nations victory over France

13:40 , Mike Jones

Nervy Italian job

Wales have not finished bottom of the Six Nations for 21 years, but a wooden-spoon decider beckons against Italy in Cardiff next weekend if they are beaten by France.

Wales lost all five games of the 2003 tournament under Gatland’s fellow New Zealander Steve Hansen, while Italy triumphed on their last Principality Stadium visit two years ago.

Worryingly for Wales, they have suffered 12 defeats from the last 14 Six Nations starts, toppling only Scotland two years ago and Italy in 2023. With two home games to come, Wales have control of their own destiny, but the margins are fine.

Talking points as Wales target Six Nations victory over France

13:35 , Mike Jones

A big chance for Wales

Recent history does not favour Wales, having lost their last four Six Nations games against France, although two of those defeats were by just four points.

But they have a golden opportunity to end that sequence, taking on a team that saw title hopes effectively extinguished by Ireland on opening night, before edging past Scotland and then being held to a draw at home by Italy.

New-look Wales have shown glimpses of promise as Gatland begins building for World Cup 2027 and victory over France would do wonders in terms of that process.

Owen Watkin keen to prove a point when Wales take on France

13:30 , Mike Jones

Owen Watkin hopes he can “prove a point” when he returns to Wales’ midfield against Guinness Six Nations opponents France on Sunday.

The Ospreys centre has been in and out of favour since winning the first of 37 caps against Australia in 2017.

He was overlooked for last year’s World Cup, not featuring among seven centres chosen by Wales head coach Warren Gatland in a preliminary training squad.

Owen Watkin keen to prove a point when Wales take on France

Wales vs France prediction

13:25 , Mike Jones

Despite some encouraging performances from Warren Gatland’s young side, France have the experience and ability to go through the gears.

They haven’t been at their best during this campaign but it is only a matter of time before the click which may come at the detriment to Wales’ development.

Wales 15-35 France.

France starting XV

13:20 , Mike Jones

France XV: 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julien Marchand, 3 Uini Atonio; 4 Thibaud Flament, 5 Emmanuel Meafou; 6 Francois Cros, 7 Charles Ollivon, 8 Gregory Alldritt (capt.); 9 Nolann Le Garrec, 10 Thomas Ramos; 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 12 Nicolas Depoortere, 13 Gael Fickou, 14 Damian Penaud; 15 Leo Barre.

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Georges-Henri Colombe, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Alexandere Roumat, 21 Paul Boudehent; 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Yoram Moefana.

Wales starting XV

13:15 , Mike Jones

Wales XV: 1 Gareth Thomas, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Keiron Assiratti; 4 Will Rowlands, 5 Adam Beard; 6 Dafydd Jenkins (capt.), 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Aaron Wainwright; 9 Tomos Williams, 10 Sam Costelow; 11 Rio Dyer, 12 Owen Watkin, 13 Joe Roberts, 14 Josh Adams; 15 Cameron Winnett.

Replacements: 16 Evan Lloyd, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Mackenzie Martin, 20 Alex Mann; 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Mason Grady.

Wales vs France team news

13:10 , Mike Jones

Starting centre pairing Nick Tompkins and George North are left out of the Wales side, with Owen Watkin and Joe Roberts preferred in midfield. Captain Dafydd Jenkins is shifted to the blindside for the first time in his senior playing career to accommodate Will Rowlands in the second row, and Ryan Elias replaces Elliot Dee, who is set to win a 50th cap from the bench.

After drawing with Italy, Fabien Galthie rings the changes in his French side with three debutants named in the starting fifteen. Enormous lock Emmanuel Meafou starts in the pack, where captain Gregory Alldritt is fit to return from injury and Julien Marchand is preferred to Peato Mauvaka at hooker. First-capper Nicolas Depoortere steps in for the suspended Jonathan Danty at inside centre while Matthieu Jalibert’s absence is compensated for by Thomas Ramos moving to fly half; Leo Barre is the third new face in the run-on side at full-back.

Georges-Henri Colombe also awaits a debut from the bench.

How to watch Wales vs France?

13:05 , Mike Jones

Wales vs France is due to kick off at 3pm GMT on Sunday 10 March at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the match live on BBC One, with coverage on the channel from 2.20pm GMT. A live stream will be available on the BBC Sport website and BBC iPlayer.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch major sporting events, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are, and also with the terms of their service provider.

Six Nations LIVE: Wales vs France

13:00 , Mike Jones

Good afternoon rugby fans and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of today’s Six Nations clash between Wales and France at the Millenium Stadium.

Warren Gatland’s men have yet to win a match during this campaign though they have twice come close with a one-point loss against Scotland and a two-point defeat to England preceding a heavy defeat against the Irish.

France meanwhile have been all over the place. They’ve lost one, won one and drawn one of their three games meaning both teams are languishing near the bottom of the table.

With Les Bleus underperforming and Wales on the wrong end of close games, Gatland may sense an opportunity for his young squad to turn the form around this afternoon.

We’ll have all the updates, news and action from Cardiff so stick around as we build up to kick off at 3pm.