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Six Nations 2020: We expect France to ‘cheat’ at the scrum – Wyn Jones

Wyn Jones started for Wales against France in the 2019 World Cup quarter-final
Guinness Six Nations: Wales v France
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 22 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

Wales prop Wyn Jones expects France’s pack to “cheat” in their bid to gain scrum supremacy when the teams meet in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Wales beat Les Bleus in their 2019 World Cup quarter-final, pulverising one late scrum to set up Ross Moriarty’s match-winning try.

Jones is braced for France attempting to bend the rules as they aim to redress that balance in Cardiff.

“We know they’ll hit and chase and cheat,” the loose-head said.

“That’s something we’re fully aware of and something we’ve got to combat on the day.

“They’ll be a big pack but probably ill-disciplined with that, especially at scrum time.

“They’ll look to push early, they’ll look to mess about at scrum time. That’s something we’ve looked at. We’ll just concentrate on ourselves.”

Wales and France have history when it comes to scrums in the Six Nations.

Their highly controversial 2017 encounter in Paris lasted more than 100 minutes, largely because of a host of reset scrums and contentious refereeing decisions before France eventually snatched victory with the final play of the game.

This year, Wales have endured a mixed start to their campaign, thrashing Italy 42-0 in their opening fixture before losing 24-14 in Ireland.

During that defeat in Dublin, Wales’ scrum was solid at times and less so at others.

The reigning champions conceded a penalty from one scrum at a crucial moment late in the game, with French referee Romaine Poite penalising tight-head Dillon Lewis when Wales were close to the Irish try line.

Wales were unhappy with that decision but, as Jones explains, they hope to fare better with Englishman Matthew Carley in charge this weekend.

“In any aspect of the game, all you want is consistency, and maybe some calls are frustrating but you’ve just got to play what’s in front of you,” the Scarlets prop said.

“We just keep evolving our scrum. We show positive pictures. That’s the kind of scrum we want, we want to be positive, a ‘no cheating’ mentality.

“We don’t want to bring the ref into it really. We don’t want any 50-50s, we want to scrummage positively and get the outcomes we want out of it.”

Refereeing of scrums ‘inconsistent’ so far – Johnathan Humphreys

Wales forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys was also frustrated with what he perceived to be inconsistency from Poite in Dublin.

“There comes that inconsistency for us. It’s clearly obvious that [Ireland prop] Tadhg Furlong has hammered across the scrum,” the former Wales hooker said.

“It’s created instability from left to right but we’ve got to deal with that.

“We dealt with it for most of the game but the one scrum we had to deal with that, we didn’t and that’s our fault.

“It’s a massive learning curve. There are no excuses for us.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s match against France, Humphreys has no concerns about the fact Carley will be taking charge of only the second Six Nations game of his career.

“Wayne [Pivac, Wales head coach] will speak to him closer to the day,” said Humphreys.

“We’ve got lots of stats on what he’s keen on. He’s a good ref, we’re happy with the appointment.

“But when you come in, with the stadium and the atmosphere, it’s intimidating for everyone.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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