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Nic Ladds 25th Feb 2010 - 13:00

Big blue machine ready to roll over Wales

Despite home advantage the market would suggest Wales are up against it coming in at odds of 9/4 to beat the rampaging France who are priced at 2/5 to continue their quest for a Grand Slam in this years Six Nations.

After an extremely fortunate victory against Scotland two weeks ago, a match that everyone expected Wales to win easily it is fair to think that France are going to pose a much sterner challenge and the manner in which they disposed of Ireland would suggest the Welsh have little hope of an upset.

Marc Lievremont finally seems to have his side playing like their potential says they should, with awesome power in the forwards combining with flair and trickery in the backs to form an almost unstoppable machine and the away side should be able to give up six points on the handicap at odds of 10/11.

As expected for France, Immanol Harinordiquy has been outstanding all tournament at number 8 and Wales' captain Ryan Jones needs to up his game to match the French powerhouse and the former will have his backers at 16/1 to score the first try.

Mathieu Bastareaud (14/1 for first try) and Yannick Jauzion (14/1) have been a revelation in the centres, while Alexis Palisson (11/1) and Julien Malzieu (11/1) provide ample attacking threat on the wings and Julien Bonnaire is not a half bad replacement to come in at flanker, showing the strength in depth France possess.

Wales' strength continues to be the attacking prowess of their back line with Shane Williams (12/1) finally looking the world beater he used to be again, while Leigh Halfpenny (12/1), Jamie Roberts (16/1) and Lee Byrne (16/1) can all be devastating going forwards.

The forwards are likely to struggle and Warren Gatland will know Wales' best chance of winning is if they can get behind the French back line which is likely to play fast and rush up on the Welsh backs and that could leave them exposed in behind, however whether they will do this enough to let Wales in is questionable.

Barring atrocious weather in Wales (assuming the roof is shut) this game should be full of points and therefore it makes sense to take advantage of the even money on offer about over 39 points in the game.

Wales will be determined to get back to winning ways in front of their home fans after defeat to England and a near - embarrassing defeat to Scotland but France look the part and having destroyed Ireland look destined for the Grand Slam and it will take a classic sulky French performance for an upset to happen and this will be something that Leivremont hopes is a thing of the past.

From a betting point of view, get on the over points and this writer is with France all the way and they could make a mockery of the -6 handicap at 10/11 in what should be a real Friday night cracker to set us up for the remaining games over the weekend but come the final whistle, we may be looking at a Wales side with faces as red as their shirts.


Over 39 points - even money

France -6 points - 10/11



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