Wales v France: Lock Jake Ball aims for Six Nations home comforts

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Jake Ball
Wales second-row Jake Ball is in line to win his 45th cap against France
Guinness Six Nations: Wales v France
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 22 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

Lock Jake Ball hopes Wales' Six Nations home record will continue when they face unbeaten France.

Wales have won seven successive home games in the tournament, with England the last away side to triumph in the Six Nations in Cardiff in 2017.

France have lost their past four Six Nations games in the Welsh capital, with the last victory in 2010 - the year Les Bleus last won the Grand Slam.

"You take massive pride from playing at home," said Ball.

France arrive in Cardiff after starting this season's tournament with victories over England and Italy, while Wales have defeated the Italians but lost to Ireland.

Ireland and France are the only two countries still harbouring Grand Slam hopes but Fabien Galthie's side have not yet won away in the tournament.

Wales' overall home Six Nations record in recent seasons makes for impressive reading. as they have lost only three of their past 22 games.

"Every time you pull on the shirt, you feel proud, and you also know what it's like when you lose a game - you don't want to leave the house, it's a horrible feeling," said Ball.

"So just that feeling you have of winning and of the pleasure you take from it is a massive part of why I play the game.

"It [Principality Stadium] is a great place to play, but it can be pretty hostile as well, and we can use that to our advantage.

"They've had two home games, two wins, but this is their first away game, so it's an opportunity for us to put them under pressure.

"When you are on the field you don't tend to hear a massive amount.

"But sometimes in those key moments of the game, when there might be a stoppage in play or maybe a penalty kick to the corner, you do hear it and you do feel that energy. There is no doubt that is an advantage."

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Wales will take on a familiar face in defence coach Shaun Edwards, who filled that role for 12 Six Nations campaigns as part of Warren Gatland's support team before joining the France set-up.

He made an immediate impact in his new job by masterminding a huge defensive effort when Les Bleus beat England on the tournament's opening weekend.

"He has done a great job, hasn't he? They are two [wins] from two, the defence has been good," Ball added.

"We know Shaun well, we know what he likes to bring in defence, so potentially that could give us a bit of an advantage.

"You can see what he has done for them in the first couple of games, but from our point of view, we have a new defensive team in as well.

"All of the teams seem pretty close and are competitive, so it probably will be one of those years when it comes down to the final week. It's going to be interesting."

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