It's been a tough few weeks down in Wales but I think things are looking up on all fronts. Firstly I have been back training this week and returning to contact.
That means the coaches put you in different situations where they put my pec under stress to see how it handles the stress of contact. It feels really good and I am hoping to be released back to the Scarlets and get some game time for them.
I was obviously very disappointed not to be in contention for the Ireland game but I had a few setbacks and hopefully I hope to play next week for the Scarlets and then be in contention for selection.
Obviously that Ireland result was hugely disappointing for Wales. We came in on the Tuesday afterwards and everyone was really gutted and very critical on ourselves. It's important to be honest about our performance and say that it was not good enough. We have worked through the areas that we have to improve for France. Friday gives the team the chance to put that performance against Ireland to bed by putting in a really good and winning performance against France.
There is a huge focus on once we have the ball, we have to make sure we retain it because in open play or with turnover ball, France are very dangerous.
Quotes of the week
Gats [Warren Gatland] has made a few changes with Rhys Webb replacing Mike Phillips. I think Mike will be disappointed that he got caught up too much in his battle with Conor Murray against Ireland but he's a great player and I am sure he will rise to the challenge of Rhys. This is a big opportunity for Rhys who has been playing well; I am sure he will take this chance and really show us what he can do. He is similar to Mike as he likes to run the ball and is quick around the fringes. His tactical kicking will have to be spot on though as France love to counter-attack.
Retain the ball
Our driving maul against Ireland was not good enough and I know the forwards have worked really hard this week in rectifying that. There is a huge focus on once we have the ball, we have to make sure we retain it because in open play or with turnover ball, France are very dangerous and have some wonderful runners in Fofana and Huget who can really make you pay. Mathieu Bastareaud is a man who can run through defences as well so we will need to monitor him very closely.
George North is in the centre for this game - I have offered any help he wants but he is a world class player and knows exactly what he needs to do. He's looking forward to getting his hands on the ball a bit more and hopefully he shall cause the French a few problems. His collision with Bastareaud will certainly be the battle of the heavyweights - there are some real tasty encounters out there.
France are looking good - they may not have played consistently well but have shown moments of brilliance. They are full of confidence after two wins from two and are looking to get better and better as the tournament progresses.
Friday should be a cracking game - it's an 8pm kick-off and the boys in the camp will slowly start to adapt to the late kick-off. They will delay going to bed and getting up a bit later to slowly shift their body clock. That is sometimes one of the negative things about the late kick-off; you have played it four times in your head before you even get to the team bus. So the plan will be to get up much later on game day to avoid all that hanging around and over thinking things.
There is a lot of pressure on Wales but I at home in front of our fantastic fans, I am expecting the boys to turn it around and get back to their winning ways.