Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Halfpenny expects France onslaught

Wales' Leigh Halfpenny during a Training Session at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Wales' Leigh Halfpenny during a Training Session at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Leigh Halfpenny believes there is more to come from Wales as they target a winning finale to their RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Halfpenny and company head to Paris next Saturday for an appointment with France after posting a third successive Six Nations victory through their 19-13 success against Ireland. France, by contrast, are reeling from a one-point loss to Italy, and the possibility of now suffering three defeats during a Six Nations season for the first time since 2001.

Wales have won on three previous occasions at Stade de France, although wing Halfpenny admitted: "They (France) are going to come out all guns blazing, I would imagine. But we went out to Rome and beat Italy and they didn't manage to do that, which is something we can take confidence from."

He added: "It's a massive game for us. We have put ourselves into the position we wanted to, and we know we can improve. We need to show the same attitude that we did against Ireland. Our defence will be massively important - we know how France can play at home - and we've got to match them physically.

"Our confidence is high now, and we can go out to France and really perform. We have just got to concentrate on our own performance and do the job we know we've got to do."

Halfpenny's team-mate Alun-Wyn Jones, meanwhile, accepts second-placed Wales need the gods to smile on them in their quest for an unlikely Six Nations title.

Wales will not only need to topple France in Paris, but they also require an implosion from red-hot tournament favourites England and a colossal losing margin against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

All of it is highly improbable, given England's huge points difference advantage, yet Wales continue to bounce back from that Red Rose reversal and have now won three successive Tests for the first time since February 2009.

Jones said: "We will take each game as it comes - we are not getting ahead of ourselves. We will keep the talking to a minimum and make sure we do what we need to do on the pitch. Yes, we need some favours and there are some possible mathematical conundrums.

"The autumn results this season were disappointing for us in terms of the win/loss ratio, but the performances have been there."

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