Six Nations 2020: France accuse Wales of 'lack of respect' over scrum comments

Refereeing of scrums 'inconsistent' so far - Jonathan Humphreys
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.

France coach Fabien Galthie has accused Wales of a "lack of respect" ahead of Saturday's Six Nations encounter.

Prop Wyn Jones said he expected France's pack to "cheat" in their bid to gain scrum supremacy when the teams meet in Cardiff.

The Scarlets player expects France to bend the rules, saying: "We know they'll hit and chase and cheat."

"They don't have to say this sort of thing in the Six Nations," said Galthie.

"It's a lack of respect," he added. "A lack of respect for our scrum. A lack of respect for our team. A lack of respect for French rugby. A lack of respect for our nation.

"In the last two matches their scrum has gone down 13 times and has been penalised six times, while we've been penalised four times."

French team manager and former hooker Raphael Ibanez also weighed into the argument, describing Jones' comments as "a puerile attack".

"Our reference points are the tournament referees with whom we have worked intelligently since the start of the tournament, not a player or coach of the opposing team," Ibanez said.

"To see them crying like this makes us smile."

Criticism 'benefits' France

Former France flanker Serge Betsen believes Jones' pre-game comments, if anything, will only drive the French pack to be motivated against Wales.

The 45-year-old year old said the comments could have a similar impact to those made by England coach Eddie Jones before France's victory in their opening Six Nations match.

Jones warned France to expect "absolute brutality" but his England side suffered a 24-17 defeat at the Stade de France.

"The France team were effected by what Eddie Jones said and I think it will be similar for the scrum," Betsen told BBC Radio Wales.

"It is a benefit for France to be hearing a lot of noise which is not maybe true but let's wait for the game tomorrow and we will see how they respond.

"I think it will give them an edge of frustration to prove [Wales' comments] wrong."

Tipuric expecting tough French test

The Biggar question?

Ibanez has also raised the selection of Wales fly-half Dan Biggar who has been passed fit despite failing a head injury assessment during the defeat against Ireland.

It was a third time in five months Biggar had suffered a head injury following incidents against Australia and Fiji in the 2019 World Cup.

"We could also ask about the fly-half who has had several KO's and who passes test after test run by the Welsh union," said Ibanez.

"I hope these tests are the most effective ones possible, in a spirit of care for their player."

Wales insist it is in the spirit of the player. Biggar has been in full training since last week and has completed all concussion protocols, with Wales saying they sought the advice of a globally renowned concussion expert who reviewed the fly-half's return.

Wales say Biggar's health has been at the forefront of their decision-making process, stressing player welfare is their top priority.

"He's gone through the regular process and passed those with flying colours," said Pivac.

"We've also gone to a world leading expert in concussion, who he's seen previously at the World Cup. Every precaution has been taken.

"He's come through it and been cleared to play. He's good to go and trained very well this week."


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