The French are playing outstanding rugby and following their successive victories in the Six Nations..beating Italy 37-10 and then Ireland by 30-24 in a memorable Test match in Paris..many punters will be prepared to back France to win their three remaining games.
Next up is the clash at Murrayfield against Scotland on Saturday February 26th and that’s followed next month by France visiting Cardiff for a Friday night international against the Welsh on March 11th.
The climax to the tournament is the France-England game, another evening kick-off, in Paris on Saturday March 19th when, if the predictions go to plan, the French could be on the point of claiming a Grand Slam if they beat Eddie Jones’ side in what should be a thrilling contest.
The French last won the Grand Slam in 2010 and before that in 2002 and 2004, so it’s been a long wait for such a talented rugby nation and one which likes to play in an adventurous style.
The influence of Shaun Edwards
The role played by Edwards as defence coach can’t be stressed enough, and if the French do achieve the Grand Slam, and a lot of money will be put on them to do so, then their solid and quick defence, which is so well organised by Edwards, will have been responsible..every bit as much as the flair and skills of France’s half backs, Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack.
The strength of French rugby is in the South West of the country, but in these days when the nationality of a coach doesn’t matter.. only his knowledge and trophies.. success for France can in many ways be attributed to the rugby league battlefields in the North of England.
Edwards, like Andy Farrell, the Ireland head coach, forged his skills at Wigan and then transferred them to rugby union, and the success Edwards had with Wales made him the best defence coach in international rugby, so when he became available the French grabbed him quickly.
Just look at the way France defend, rapidly and aggressively, and if the French do go on and earn a Grand Slam, much of that success will be attributed to the influence and organisation imposed by Edwards.
You have only to watch the effectiveness of the two centres, Yoram Moefana and Gael Fichou, both of whom were rock hard against Ireland..so much so that the Irish centres, Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose, top internationals, were prevented from breaking through.
Jaminet one of the best
If the Grand Slam depended on a last minute, dramatic kick at the posts, back Jaminet to put it over.In the Ireland game, he proved to be a match winner as the Irish kept giving away penalties..the USA Perpignan star, who’s only 22, knocked over six penalties and one conversion..20 points..so the message could not be clearer to France’s opponents in the remaining three matches..be disciplined because if not, Jaminet will punish you.
In only two games so far, Jaminet has scored 30 points with the boot,so the major part he plays stands out, and it’s now up to Scotland, Wales and England to keep him quiet.
France have a fine pack too
Without the ball, French flair would not be seen, but when you look at their forwards, powerful men like Cyrille Baille, Cameron Wohi, Paul Willemse and Gregory Alldritt, you realise what an impact they can make and the size of the challenge facing their opponents.
All in all, after two games, it seems France have every chance of the Grand Slam in 2022..they are such a strong all-round team.