Considering the talent available and the money involved in the French game, it’s almost unbelievable that France last won the Six Nations Championship a whole 12 years ago.
With a squad blessed with some world-class stars, and coaches instilling a bit more grit in the side, it’s clear why France are hailed the favourites to lift the trophy this year and finally break their unsuccessful spell.
France On The Up
Having finished second behind winners Wales last season, Les Bleus are looking not only like serious Six Nations title contenders but also like challengers for the World Cup on French soil next year. France are currently priced at 4/7 in the Six Nations odds 2022, and few would deny they deserve the favourites tag after wins over Italy and Ireland in the first two rounds of the competition.
Facing strugglers Italy on home soil was a good way for the French to ease into the tournament, before a much sterner test against the Irish. Ireland headed to Paris full of confidence after dismantling the Welsh in Dublin, but the men in green came up short at the Stade de France. A thrilling 30-24 win for the French means they are now the only side still capable of the Grand Slam, which is something they have not achieved since that title success back in 2010.
After that second-place finish in the Six Nations last season, France enjoyed a strong run of games in the Autumn Internationals, with the highlight being a remarkable 40-25 win over New Zealand. That was a first win over the All Blacks since 2009 and again shows how far this French side have come in the past 12 months. With the likes of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack in the backs and Cyril Baille and Paul Willemse in the forwards, France are blessed with world-class talent.
Edwards Playing His Part
What seems to be different about France is their defence, and coach Shaun Edwards has played a massive role in developing that area of the game for Les Bleus. The former Wigan Warriors rugby league star is known for his no-nonsense approach and it certainly served him well during his coaching spell with the Welsh national side under head coach Warren Gatland.
Embarking on a new chapter across the Channel, Edwards seems to be thriving once again and the impact is being felt in the France set-up. A more disciplined and accountable approach to defence has been serving them well and has been a big reason for their upturn in fortunes.
Of course, there is still some way to go before France can get their hands on the trophy, as the Six Nations title race can turn on its head in a single afternoon. The French still have trips to Scotland and Wales to come, before hosting England in Paris for their final game of the tournament.
If France can come through their trips to Edinburgh and Cardiff unscathed, then it could be some night in Paris when England come to town, with a potential Grand Slam for the French within their grasp.