Warren Gatland is wary of the visit of an ‘exceptionally good’ France side as Wales look to secure second spot in the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations standings.
Wales moved up to second following their 38-14 victory over Italy and will need to beat France to have a chance of staying there, with England harbouring second-place ambitions of their own.
Speaking about the challenge France pose, Gatland said: “I think they’ll be good.
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“Their defence looks strong at the moment and it was good in the first game against Ireland.
“They were unlucky not to win that one and then they started well against Scotland.
“Having a few more games under their belt and a win against Italy means they are showing some cohesion now, having been together for a number of matches.
“I thought they were exceptionally good against England.”
France enjoyed a 22-16 win over Eddie Jones’ men thanks to five penalties and a penalty try, with England’s late charge not enough to rescue the game – despite a try from Jonny May.
Wales meanwhile had a better afternoon, putting 38 points past Italy, with tries from Hadleigh Parkes, Cory Hill, Justin Tipuric and two from George North.
Gatland will be looking for another strong attacking performance at Principality Stadium on Saturday against a disciplined French side.
He said: “France have had a lot of things that have gone against them and have even had to regroup in this Championship with some players moving out of the squad.
“You have to take your hat off to Jacques Brunel in terms of the discipline he has brought in to the squad.
“They played with discipline against England. They were really direct and deserved to win the match.”
Gatland took a risk in making changes for the Italy game, but his decision was vindicated, with Owen Watkin among those putting in a great performance.
Gatland said: “I was pleased with Owen Watkin.
“He just did his job and did not make many mistakes, he was excellent.
“Part of the plan against Italy was to make changes and we knew that was taking a risk.
“We have come unstuck in the past making that many changes so to get that scoreline was incredibly pleasing, especially as there were aspects to improve on.
“With a couple of guys rested we can bring guys in after a six-day turnaround who will be a bit fresher.”