Wales are only 80 minutes away from a Six Nations Grand Slam but face a young, esciting France side on their home turf with title aspirations of their own on Saturday (kick-off 22:00).
It is one of the two very intriguing matches this weekend, with Ireland hosting England at 18:45.
In the first match of the weekend, Scotland at Murrayfield should pile on more agony on Franco Smith’s Italy charges (kick-off 16:15)
▲ It will be Wales’ second Grand Slam in three years should they win, but they can also claim the title at the Stade de France with a draw.
But it’s not cut and dried that Alun Wyn Jones’ men will be the champions, although a betting man would find their position a cert for a smallish pay-out. France must beat Wales and then Scotland, in a game rescheduled for March 26, and also claim bonus points in both to lift the Championship trophy for the first time since 2010
“We know we’re going to be in for huge challenge. They have quality right across the park and they come up with some great plays,” Wales coach Wayne Pivac said. ”They bring a lot of attacking threats and they’ve got a very good attacking kicking game.
Wing Louis Rees-Zammitt is the Wales player in the starting lineup who has yet to be part of a Grand Slam team.
“They have a strong culture, of course, a monstrous amount of collective experience,” France coach Fabian Galthie said. “They know how to bounce back (after not winning the Championship last year) and until Saturday they’re on top of the table,” Galthie added.
Lock Adam Beard is the only change by either coach from last weekend’s fixtures. He starts alongside international record cap holder Alun Wyn Jones, who is seeking his fourth Six Nations Grand Slam, as many as Ireland, England and Scotland combined.