Wales v France exact scoreline predicted – our rugby experts say what will happen as Pivac’s team seek Six Nations upset

Friday night rugby is back – and will Wales also light up the Principality Stadium with victory over Grand Slam chasing France?

The odds are against, but you never know with the Cardiff factor when Wales are playing.

Here our rugby writers predict what will happen as Wayne Pivac’s team seek to pull off a Six Nations upset.

Wales need best performance under Pivac – Mark Orders

If every side years to know where they are truly at, Wales are about to discover the answer to that question in this Six Nations.

They are up against a team who are being touted as the best in the world right at this moment in time.

Expect Wales to scrap for every bit of possession. They will look to make things difficult for France by slowing down their possession and so reducing the threat posed by Antoine Dupont at scrum-half.

If Wales fail on that count, they are in trouble.

Allowing the superstar France scrum-half quick ball is akin to throwing Dracula the keys to the blood bank and telling him: “Get on with it.”

He is France’s inspiration, but they are about more than one man. They have threats all over their backline, with Gael Fickou boasting skill and authority in the centre, Jonathan Danty packing immense power alongside him, Gabin Villiere having speed and a step and Romain Ntamack a calm fly-half controller.

Up front they have power but their forwards are also able to handle.

Fabien Galthie’s team are clinical and can strike from anywhere. They defend well, too, and can win games on limited possession.

To win, Wales are going to need to make vast improvements on what we have seen so far.

They are not scoring enough tries, have missed more tackles than any other side in the tournament bar Italy and have conceded more penalties than all but Scotland. No team has won fewer turnovers than Wayne Pivac’s men and because they struggle for possession they have had to make more tackles than any of their rivals.

It doesn’t augur well, but Pivac will hope the changes he has made, bringing in Gareth Thomas, Seb Davies, Josh Navidi and Jonathan Davies, will bring pep to his team.

While home advantage has traditionally been worth a lot to Wales, they are up against a class outfit and will need to produce possibly their best performances under this regime to upset the odds.

Wales 22-31 France

France are just too good – Simon Thomas

So here’s the bottom line. If France perform anywhere near to the level that we have seen from them so far this season, then there is only going to be one outcome.

Remember this is a team that put 40 points on New Zealand, saw off an Irish side that had just totally outplayed Wales and ran away with the win at Murrayfield, a place that has not traditionally been a happy hunting ground for them.

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Moreover, they are pretty much at full strength, with some of the best players in the world on board.

Wales, in contrast, remain without some key figures and lack settled status, amid Wayne Pivac’s perpetual chopping and changing.

The return of Josh Navidi is a big boost but it’s asking a lot for one man to resolve the major issues at the breakdown on the back of one game in five months.

There is the hope that France won’t turn up, but unlike previous Gallic sides, this team don’t appear to have that potential flaw in their make-up under Galthie and Edwards.

Wales 18-25 France

Wales will be better and land some punches – Ben James

Everything points to a French victory, but, as was the case last year, defeat might still see the best attacking performance from Wayne Pivac’s side in this campaign.

France will kick often from their own half and, with a new back-row made up of Seb Davies, Josh Navidi and Taulupe Faletau, Wales might just have the balance required to not only retain possession effectively, but test things in the wider channels.

Of course, France will fancy their chances of picking off Welsh mistakes in possession and scoring quickfire tries on transition, as has been the case throughout the Six Nations.

You’d like to hope that Wales have a little more nous and, in the case of Finn Russell, actual effort to apply when it comes to dealing with France’s kick-heavy game compared to Scotland.

That’s why I’m hopeful Wales can land a few punches against this French side.

Enough for a knockout? Probably not, given this French side is virtually guaranteed some hefty body blows with its vast array of talents.

But even if defeat is more likely than not, I’m hopeful we see Wales build on that final half-hour at Twickenham.

Wales 24-32 France

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