It’s a match which looked in threat of not proceeding at one phase in the middle of the politicking of French rugby.
Then there were tips France might be woefully understrength.
But when the sides were revealed in midweek they were at their strongest and Wales were not far except their best line-up, too.
A delicious video game under the Paris lights remains in prospect on Saturday evening, then.
MARK ORDERS assesses how the 2 groups compare …
Anthony Bouthier 8 v Leigh Halfpenny 8
Bouthier developed the so-called spiral that went viral versus England– a 90- metre kick that became a web feeling.
But he is likewise known for his hazardous running from deep. If Wales kick loosely he has the counter-attacking ability to make them pay.
Halfpenny’s current claim to fame is a nine-out-of-nine kicking display screen for the Scarlets, however there is a lot more to him than simply a precise boot.
He is a professional reader of gamer and he’s in kind: Wales will feel safe with him at the back.
Teddy Thomas 7 v Josh Adams 8
Thomas is a deadly in attack and will score if offered half an opportunity, however he can also be susceptible in defence.
His challenger has more of an overall video game.
Adams works hard off the ball, scores attempts and can conjure game-changing minutes.
Virimi Vakatawa 8 v Jonathan Davies 8
It’s a clash of styles.
Vakatawa completely flow is a problem to defend against. He fasts, effective and has an eye for a gap. There are few much better assaulting centres in the game.
But there are not many better protectors than Davies.
He checks out play wisely and he has an eye for a space himself.
Is he back up to speed after his very long time out with a knee injury? Wales will hope so.
Gael Fickou 7 v Nick Tompkins 7
Fickou seems to have actually been around for ages however is only 26.
He’s a classy runner with a large skill-set and he functioned as defence captain previously in the project.
Tompkins has huge capacity as a global gamer with his ability to not just make line-breaks but to likewise turn up in different locations. He is good over the ball and could surprise by declaring a Lions area next summer.
Vincent Rattez 7 v George North 7
The return of Rattez on the wing enables Fabien Galthie to shift Gael Fickou back into the centre. Rattez is a harmful enemy who caused England a great deal of issues in February.
But let’s see how he breaks North.
The Welshman lacks game-time, but he’s a power runner and he’ll want to show he’s still ahead of the competition in the middle of Louis Rees-Zammit coming into the photo and Liam Williams making his way back after injury.
Romain Ntamack 8 v Dan Biggar 8
Here are 2 different sorts.
Among them in another profession may have been an artist, painting in rich and vivid colours. That would be Ntamack, by the method.
The other is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get merchant, among the most honest players in world rugby who will never ever be discovered desiring for effort, is a top game controller and a brave protector.
Ntamack has the edge as an elite assailant, however Biggar’s overall game continues to be something else.
Antoine Dupont 9 v Rhys Webb 7
Anyone attempting to locate the very best scrum-half in world rugby right now would be encouraged to look no more than Dupont. He does things at 100 mph and is expert with it.
It’s Webb’s very first Test start in three years, so he might require time to get used to the extra pace.
However the certainty is he will delight in the difficulty.
He fasts to the breakdown himself, singing and blessed with a ton of self-belief. If he’s on form he won’t let Dupont have it all his own method.
Cyril Baille 7 v Samson Lee 7
Baille holds down a location in the Toulouse pack and no one does that without having something about him, but he endured a torrid time at the hands of Dan Cole at the start of the year.
Recalled to the Wales set-up, Lee will be identified to prove a point.
He’s begun the season well with the Scarlets.
Competitors: Win the new Wales rugby t-shirt
Julien Marchand 6 v Ryan Elias 6
Marchand likes to bring and offload but he likewise yields turnovers and scrum charges.
It’s a crucial video game for Elias as he seeks to get out of Ken Owens’ shadow.
He’s a dynamic gamer with a big work ethic however he’ll require to be accurate with his tossing.
Mohamed Haouas 6 v Rhys Carre 6
We understand that Haouas can punch.
Scotland’s James Ritchie will testify to that after copping a right hander from the big prop at Murrayfield in March.
Haouas loads a presence and will seek to evaluate Rhys Carre’s guts.
Nevertheless, no one gave away more scrum charges than anyone in the Six Nations before lockdown therefore Carre shouldn’t be daunted. The youngster has a big carrying video game and a lot of potential however his very first objective will be to hold his own at the set-pieces.
Bernard Le Roux 8 v Cory Hill 7
If you want a 2nd row to take on, it might pay to have Le Roux’s number on speed dial. Far in this year’s 6 Countries he’s made 71 strikes– no player has actually made more. Thirteen of his deals with have likewise been considered dominant, with just Maro Itoje putting in more of those.
Hill is a leader who will work himself into the ground and use a lot of energy.
The Cardiff Blue is also on a 12- game winning kept up Wales.
Paul Willemse 7 v Alun Wyn Jones 8
Willimese likes to get around the field with ball in hand and he is proficient at it. At 6ft 7in, the South Africa-born player likewise packs a presence in the line-outs and does not shirk in defence, although he is vulnerable to the odd missed out on tackle.
Numbers alone seldom do justice to what Jones brings.
But there will be no more dedicated player on the pitch than the 35- year-old Wales captain. He leads from the front and sets an imposing example.
Francois Cros 7 v Aaron Wainwright 7
It’s a return to the starting line-up for Wainwright and he’ll be looking to make his mark against an unflashy opponent who makes dominant hits and is on top of the essentials.
Fortunately for Wales is that Wainwright has remained in type.
He’s a figured out carrier who doesn’t shirk in defence and he’ll wish to show Pivac he’s back to his best.
Charles Ollivon 8 v Justin Tipuric 9
Two terrific gamers here, each of whom delight in running with ball in hand.
Tipuric has the much better all-round game with his handling and his defensive abilities, but he is up against an opponent who uses a real risk moving forward.
Wales will need to deal with the bring danger of Ollivon and Allrditt in the French back row. They will aim to Tipuric to lead their protective effort, and it is not likely he will be found wanting.
Gregory Alldritt 9 v 8 Taulupe Faletau
Alldritt was outstanding and after that a bit more in the pre-lockdown 6 Countries, his 58 carries making 360 metres for his side. For those in any doubt, Scott Quinnell in his pomp would have mored than happy to sign off such figures.
At his finest Faletau is an all-rounder with superb skills and a hunger for graft. He was viewed to be a shade out of touch previously this term, however he boasts a 45 -0 take on return in the 2020, which isn’t extremely shoddy.
Also, versus Exeter just recently, he was much more like his old self.
That adds up to some fight.
OVERALLS: France 112, Wales 111