An orgy of passes, 174 in total, and tumbles in all directions with more than 500 meters gained with ball in hand and 26 Welsh defenders beaten. Before the match, Grégory Alldritt insisted on the need to (re)have fun to chase away the gloom. The captain was heard, in particular by his (unpublished) hinge Le Garrec-Ramos who did not hesitate to initiate movement. In this big game, the wingers logically gorged themselves: 113 meters gained by Damian Penaud, 84 by Louis Bielle-BIarrey. The Blues therefore had fun. And were rewarded with another record: the French XV had never scored so many points (45) in Cardiff. If history remembers a 51-0 in 1998, it was at… Wembley, the Welsh having had to relocate their matches during the construction of the Principality Stadium.

Only three penalties conceded by the Blues in Cardiff! By Léo Barré, Gaël Fickou and Romain Taofifenua. Quite simply a record since the start of Fabien Galthié’s mandate, in January 2020, ahead of the 4 fouls conceded against New Zealand then Namibia during the 2023 World Cup. A very high standard after a discipline undermined during the first three matches and the red cards of Willemse (against Ireland) and Danty (Italy). Note that the Welsh were only penalized 7 times.

This has become a stated desire of the coach and his deputies: to rely on strong men up front to tire the opponent with great collisions and pushes in closed scrums. With Uini Atonio and Emmanuel Meafou to lead, we were already close to 300 kilos on the right side of the pack. Their replacements by Georges-Henri Colombe and Romain Taofifenua (credited with one try each) did not reduce the gauge. A job of attrition which ended up knocking out the Welsh. “We had a heavy pack, we used it well,” said captain Grégory Alldritt after the meeting.


Since the start of this Tournament, the defensive errors of the Blues have raised questions. Against the Welsh, they missed 10% of their tackles (13 out of 130). Not scandalous, except that some of these failures, right in the heart of the line, were costly on three occasions. The consequence, certainly, of the lack of automatisms with eight changes made in the starting XV, four players with zero selection, new associations at the hinge and in the center. Fortunately, Gaël Fickou, vengeful, had regained all his mastery in this sector (best French tackler, 14 hits, no misses) to prevent the worst. But Shaun Edwards still has work to do to restore the French XV to its hermeticism which was its great strength not so long ago.

There were a handful of young people to honor their first selection in the metal and concrete nave of Cardiff. And the least expected was not the three-quarter center and captain of the U20 world champions, Nicolas Depoortère. Sparkling with the UBB, he was supposed to bring his punch and his edge to a French attack line that had been out of breath since the start of this Tournament. The disappointment therefore lives up to the expectations placed on him: great. When all his partners, from 11 to 15, rushed into each interval, he only gained 25 meters. And made two defensive errors which were costly. The pressure of a first, and of a vox populi demanding his tenure for weeks, was undoubtedly a little heavy to bear. We can’t wait to see him again against the English next Saturday in Lyon. And this time in the favorites…

And 45 more which make 119 points conceded in four matches during this Six Nations Tournament. Four defeats for a wooden spoon which looms before the reception of Italy next Saturday. This rejuvenated Wales is in a bad dynamic with twelve defeats in its last 14 meetings of the Tournament since 2022. Year when Ange Capuozzo and his partners came to win in Cardiff (21-22)… “We must approach this meeting enthusiastically, without hiding. There will be a lot of pressure and expectations, but that’s the lot of international rugby. Italy had a great performance against Scotland. They will seek to achieve the best ranking in their history in the Tournament. And we don’t want to finish last. We will therefore have to deliver a great match at home,” has already warned Warren Gatland, the coach of the Leek XV.