Wales ready to go ‘pretty hard’ early on in bid to tire out France’s giant pack as coach Warren Gatland seeks to turn their fortunes around in Six Nations

  • Wales have lost opening three games against England, Scotland and Ireland 
  • Warren Gatland’s side next France, who have also struggled in the Six Nations

Warren Gatland has reminded his Wales rookies winning is the only thing that matters in the Six Nations as he hinted at a plan to tire out a giant France side.

After three rounds of the 2024 Championship, Gatland’s Wales are yet to taste success after narrow losses to Scotland and England and a 31-7 defeat by Grand Slam-chasing Ireland.

Next up is a meeting with France in Cardiff a week on Sunday.

Les Bleus have not been at their best in the tournament so far, losing to Ireland, scraping past Scotland in arguably fortunate circumstances and only managing a 13-13 draw with Italy.

Gatland said the way Italy looked to move France’s mammoth forwards around the park – admittedly with a man advantage for the second half after Jonathan Danty’s red card – was noticeable. 

Wales coach Warren Gatland hopes to turn their fortunes around in the Six Nations

Wales have made a winless start to the Six Nations losing to England, Scotland and Ireland

Wales have made a winless start to the Six Nations losing to England, Scotland and Ireland

Powerhouse centre Danty won’t feature in the rest of this Six Nations after copping a five-game ban for dangerous tackling.

‘Test match rugby is all about winning. Hopefully in the next two games, we can come away with wins,’ said Gatland.

‘There is no doubt the red card had a significant influence on that game and then Italy got stronger. Some of those French forwards looked pretty tired at the end of the first half and some of them in the second half as well which allowed Italy to get back in the game.

‘It’s probably no different from the past in tactically how we’ve played against France and having the same sort of mindset. They are going to come pretty hard at you early on so you have got to stay in that battle and try and negate that physical dominance of their forwards.

‘Hopefully when some of their forwards do begin to tire a bit you are able to take advantage of that.’

France have lost star man and captain Antoine Dupont for this Six Nations after he moved to play seven-a-side rugby ahead of featuring in the shorter format in this summer’s Olympics.

In his absence, Fabien Galthie’s men have looked rudderless and were particularly poor against Italy.

Had Azzurri fly-half Paolo Garbisi not suffered a kicking tee malfunction with the game’s last play, France would have lost.

‘Dupont is a massive loss for them,’ Gatland said of France.

‘I’ve seen some clips of him and the impact that he is already having in sevens.’