Jones wary of French threat
Stephen Jones admits Wales are not certain what to expect from France on Friday evening.
Last Updated: 26/02/09 6:46pm
Stephen Jones admits Wales are not certain what to expect from an experimental France line-up in Friday evening's RBS Six Nations fixture.
Wales have won their opening two matches of this year's tournament and are aiming to remain on course for back-to-back Grand Slams with victory in Paris.
Standing in their way is a France team that includes Benoit Baby - normally a centre - at fly-half and debutant Mathieu Bastareaud in midfield.
France coach Marc Lievremont has not picked a specialist goal kicker in his match-day squad, leaving Morgan Parra to shoulder the responsibility.
"I cracked a joke with our team analyst the other day," said Wales fly-half Jones, who spent two seasons in the French domestic game with Clermont Auvergne.
"I said to him if we were playing against France every week, he would be out of a job because what's the point of analysing the French?
"They've got a massive pool of quality players to begin with, so you never know which way selection is going to go. As for their style of play, who knows?
"When I played for Clermont there might be a game we were expected to win and we would underachieve in a big way.
"Then, if we were underdogs in a big way, we might pull out our best performance of the season.
"Everyone talks about French flair, and there is no doubt when they get going they are hard work to stop.
"Sometimes, defensively you are chasing shadows because they are so efficient in the way they move the ball. I am not sure how they are going to be on Friday night.
"We would be easier to analyse than the French. Maybe you can analyse us, but trying to nullify our game is a different thing."
Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde, however, believes the situation could inspire the French.
"They'll have a 'nothing to lose' air about them if their preparations are hampered," said the former Test hooker.
"Obviously the expectancy isn't as great and having been in that situation on many occasions with Wales, when you aren't given much hope, you are keen to go out there and prove your doubters wrong.
"That gives you a little more licence to try something different."