Non Evans: France will be tough for Wales Women

By Non EvansFormer Wales star
Elen Evans
Centre Elen Evans' return was a major boost for Wales' victory over Italy.

Wales have to beat France at Cross Keys on Sunday to make this a satisfactory Six Nations campaign for this new-look and young side.

I stated at the start of the tournament that I expected Wales to win their three home games in this season's tournament and, having already beaten Scotland and Italy, a victory over France would achieve that.

Even if they lost to France, I still do not think it will have been a bad tournament for Wales. Why? Because they won't finish bottom of the Six Nations table and have blooded some new and young exciting players for the future.

It is always important to win your home games but this year's Six Nations and next year's tournament are important because they count towards qualification for the next World Cup.

France will be tough. We have only beaten them three or four times in our history and we have always tended to beat them at home. France, just like the men's side, have a reputation of not travelling well and haven't relished the prospect of playing in the muddy conditions of Taffs Well, Pontypridd and Cross Keys.

We beat them 3-0 in the mud of Taffs Well on the same weekend Wales won the Grand Slam in 2008 and we beat them by six points in Pontypridd and they tend to be very close games whenever we play them at home.

The French style of play is pretty recognisable, they like their driving maul, they kick for the corners but they defend very narrowly. Wales have to get the ball wide of their No 13 channel and outside of their blitz defence as much as possible. England failed to do that against the French. I just hope Laura Prosser has her kicking boots on because that kicking your points could prove the difference on the day.

France are a very physical side and Wales cannot afford to be scared of the physical confrontation and have to win the physical battle up front before they can think about victory.

Wales raised their game against Italy in their first match at Millennium Stadium and Elen Evans was back in the midfield and made a real difference. It showed what a key player she is for Wales.

The other key change was the move of fly-half Naomi Thomas to inside centre with Mared Evans in the No 10 jersey, and that combination worked really well against the Italians. They have stuck with that combination for the visit of France.

But for the likes of a batch of really impressive and talented young players like full-back, Rosie Fletcher, second row Vicky Owens, the sister of Wales international Ken, and backrower Sioned Harries, it's another key game in their development.