Dan Biggar offers alternative theory for France’s ‘sluggish and pedestrian’ Six Nations display against Ireland

Colin Newboult
France players v Ireland SN 2024 - Alamy.jpg

France's players stand dejected during their Six Nations loss to Ireland in Marseille.

Toulon fly-half and Wales centurion Dan Biggar gave a different view as to why France looked completely off the pace against Ireland.

Some have suggested that Les Bleus are suffering a Rugby World Cup hangover after they were eliminated from their home tournament at the quarter-final stage.

They were lacklustre right from the start of their Six Nations opener as the Irish went on to claim a dominant 38-17 triumph in Marseille.

It left head coach Fabien Galthie with plenty to ponder ahead of their next match against Scotland at Murrayfield, but Biggar felt it was simply a matter of freshness.

Tough schedule

While the Irishmen have had plenty of rest following their World Cup excursions, France’s players went back into the notoriously demanding Top 14.

“France… looked so very tired, sluggish and pedestrian, which is everything they haven’t been for the past few years,” Biggar wrote in his Mail on Sunday column.

“The Ireland players have a lot less game time for their clubs than the French players in the Top 14 and I think that showed.”

Despite Biggar giving his reasons for France’s subpar display, the fly-half has been hugely impressed by Ireland and believes that the title is theirs to lose.

“On this weekend’s evidence, it’s hard to tip anyone but them for the title. There’s always a bit of transition after a World Cup but Ireland looked right up to speed,” he wrote.

“That’s a reflection of Andy Farrell’s coaching and he absolutely deserves the Lions coaching job for next year.

“The Ireland players all knew what they were doing, they were in sync and they had a clear plan. They moved the ball into the 13 channel and made gains.

“Jack Crowley had a daunting job taking over the number 10 jersey from Johnny Sexton but he marshalled the game and kicked his points.”

England v Wales

Biggar also delved into Wales and their performance against Scotland after they succumbed 27-26 at the Principality Stadium.

Although the first half was disastrous, the Welsh great insists that Warren Gatland’s men have a chance of beating England at Twickenham following their efforts in the second period.

“I thought England were OK against Italy but they certainly don’t look unbeatable. Momentum is a big thing in rugby and the energy was all with Wales by the end of the match in Cardiff,” he added.

“The impact Tomos Williams made at scrum-half from the bench was outstanding. His form for Cardiff has been brilliant over the past 12 months and he took that on to the Test stage.

“Nothing was going Wales’ way in the first half. They were losing the lineout, collisions and the kicking game. If it wasn’t for some big interventions from Tommy Reffell, the game would have been well and truly out of sight.

“Wales read the situation and made the decision not to kick the ball in the second half. Tomos was at the heart of that. They chanced their arm and played with speed, energy and X-factor. Elliot Dee, Alex Mann and Ioan Lloyd all made an impact.”

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