France and Wales go head to head tonight at the Stade de France in the first ever Six Nations match to be played on a Friday night. While in years gone by the French would be expected to hammer their opponents, tonight Warren Gatland's team are favourites despite being away from home and forced to play at 8pm.
The reason for the bookies favouring the Welsh is twofold. First they are last year's Grand Slam winners and have added a streetwise dimension to their expansive style of rugby. The second reason that Wales are favourites is the bizarre team selection by Les Bleus coach Marc Lievremont.
France go into tonight's game without a recognised goal kicker as well as an ordinary looking centre at fly-half. If Lievremont's gamble pays off he will be hailed as a genius, but surely he witnessed the Mauro Bergamasco fiasco of a few weeks which underlined the danger of playing people of position in international rugby.
Wales v France in the 6 Nations Championship on Friday, February 27, 8pm: Wales: L Byrne; L Halfpenny, T Shanklin, J Roberts, S Williams; S Jones, M Phillips; G Jenkins, M Rees, A Jones, I Gough, A-W Jones, R Jones (capt), M Williams, A Powell. Replacements: H Bennett , J Yapp, L Charteris, D Jones, D Peel, J Hook, G Henson. France: Maxime Medard; Julien Malzieu, Mathieu Bastareaud, Yannick Jauzion, Cedric Heymans; Benoit Baby, Morgan Parra; Fabien Barcella, Dimitri Szarzewski, Sylvain Marconnet, Lionel Nallet (capt), Sebastien Chabal, Thierry Dusautoir, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Imanol Harinordoquy. Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Thomas Domingo, Romain Millo-Chluski, Louis Picamoles, Sebastien Tillous-Borde, Francois Trinh-Duc, Clement Poitrenaud.