France highlight the need for speed

'If we slow the game down we've had it,' says centre Gael Fickou, while number eight Louis Picamoles vows Les Bleus will attack Wales at pace from all angles in Oita.

OITA, 15 Oct - France are planning to run Wales ragged in Oita this weekend.

Wales have won seven of the past eight meetings between the two nations, going back to 2012, and will be firm favourites ahead of the quarter-final on Sunday.

But the French are ready to defy the form book and the odds, and they are aiming to do it by putting pace on the game at every possible opportunity.

"To put them in difficulty we need to be fast and win the contacts," said number eight Louis Picamoles.

"If we respect the structures and the work we've done in training, it will be harder for the Welsh to slow the game down. And that's where they might have some issues. That's what we have to concentrate on on Sunday."

It is not just up front where France intend to drag Wales out of their comfort zone, however. The theme of the need for speed has also been passed down the line to the backs.

"Speed will undoubtedly be the key to the match," said centre Gael Fickou, above. "The moments when we've been unsure, when we've slowed the game down, have been when we didn't win our duels.

"As soon as you have speed, win your duels and mix up your running and kicking game to drive back your opponent, any team will be in difficulty. Because that becomes tricky to defend – should you advance, attack, or contain?"

Those are the questions they hope Wales will struggle to answer.

RNS icr/rl/bo