Wednesday, October 27News That Matters

Six Nations 2021: How France and Wales can still win championships with shared title a possibility

As the Six Nations comes to a thrilling finale, France take on Scotland on Friday with the title still very much up for grabs. 

Leaders Wales are currently in pole position, but a dramatic last-gasp Brice Dulin try in their pivotal match-up last week gave France a beacon of hope heading into a postponed final day of action.   

France now need to beat Scotland by at least 21 points and gain a bonus point if they are to win the championships, while a shared title is still a possibility.   

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones was left shocked after France's last-gasp victory last week

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones was left shocked after France's last-gasp victory last week

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones was left shocked after France’s last-gasp victory last week

How does the table look now?

France gave themselves a chance to win the Championships by beating Wales last time out

France gave themselves a chance to win the Championships by beating Wales last time out

France gave themselves a chance to win the Championships by beating Wales last time out

Heading into the final match of the tournament, it’s Wales who sit top of the table, having won four of their five matches played. 

It’s a position coach Wayne Pivac would have taken at the start of the tournament, but they were painfully close to securing the Six Nations title in last week’s encounter with France, only for Dulin’s injury time try setting up a dramatic final day. 

Les Bleus now play Scotland in a match that was initially scheduled for February, before it was postponed following a coronavirus outbreak among the French squad.  

We can’t forget Scotland’s involvement in the match, who with victory could secure second spot for the first time since the tournament was expanded to six teams, otherwise known as the Six Nations era. 

As for England, Eddie Jones’ side endured an abysmal tournament, with the Lions set to finish fifth regardless of the impending result. 

Jones remains under contract with England until 2023, but his future will be decided in an upcoming ‘brutally honest’ review held by a panel of experts both inside and outside of the RFU.   

Nonetheless, the focus is not on England here. It’s on France, Wales and Scotland,  and just what is left to play for on Friday.  

What France must do to win the Six Nations 

France captain Charles Ollivon will look to guide his side to Six Nations championship glory

France captain Charles Ollivon will look to guide his side to Six Nations championship glory

France captain Charles Ollivon will look to guide his side to Six Nations championship glory

The French side celebrated as they snatched a dramatic 32-30 win over rivals Wales last week

The French side celebrated as they snatched a dramatic 32-30 win over rivals Wales last week

The French side celebrated as they snatched a dramatic 32-30 win over rivals Wales last week

Heading into Friday’s match-up, there are a number of specific requirements France need to be crowned Six Nations champions. 

Of course, should France manage just a draw – or even a loss – their title chances are gone in the blink of an eye. 

Importantly, however, even a victory may not be enough, with France currently five points behind leaders Wales. 

To be crowned champions, France therefore require a bonus point, which is of course obtained by scoring four or more tries. 

Again, even this may not be enough, however, as in obtaining the bonus point, the title will then go down to points difference. 

France’s points difference of +41 is 20 below that of Wales’ +61, meaning they need a four-try win of 21 points or more to be crowned champions. 

Should France claim a four-try win by exactly 20 points, the title would then go down to tries scored, with Wales (20) currently five ahead of Fabien Galthie’s men (15). 

In that scenario, France would have to score six tries in a 20-point victory over Scotland.  

Simply put, if France fail to achieve any of the scenarios above, Wales will be crowned the 2021 Six Nations champions.  

Can France and Wales share the Six Nations title?

The answer is very simple here – yes! France and Wales can indeed share this year’s Six Nations title, which would be the first time that has happened since 1988! 

Should France score five tries and beat Scotland by a 20-point margin, they would finish with the same points total, points difference and tries scored as Wales, with the pair therefore inseparable. 

Coincidentally, it was Wales and France who shared the title back in 1988, in what was then a five-team tournament. 

It’s a fairly unlikely scenario, but what a story it would be!  

How to watch France vs Scotland

The highly anticipated match-up between France and Scotland will start at 8pm GMT on Friday, March 26. 

It is set to be shown live on BBC One, with coverage beginning at 7.30pm, 

The match will also be available to stream on both the BBC Sport website and BBC iPlayer.  

What changes have France made to their XV?

Romain Ntamack will come into France's starting XV for their sixth and final match

Romain Ntamack will come into France's starting XV for their sixth and final match

Romain Ntamack will come into France’s starting XV for their sixth and final match

Fabien Galthie has opted for five changes to his France side, following their dramatic last-gasp win over Wales. 

Coming into the team are Romain Ntamack, Arthur Vincent, Bernard Le Roux, Swan Rebbadj and Anthony Jelonch.

Dropping out are the injured fly-half Matthieu Jalibe and the suspended Paul Willemse, alongside Teddy Thomas, Romain Taofifenua and Dylan Cretin.

France XV: Brice Dulin, Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon (c), Anthony Jelonch, Swan Rebbadj, Bernard Le Roux, Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille.

What changes have Scotland made to their XV? 

Captain Stuart Hogg will return to his favoured position at full-back with Finn Russel returning

Captain Stuart Hogg will return to his favoured position at full-back with Finn Russel returning

Captain Stuart Hogg will return to his favoured position at full-back with Finn Russel returning 

Gregor Townsend has also made a number of changes to his side, perhaps most notably with Finn Russel’s return at fly-half allowing Stuart Hogg to take up his more traditional role as full-back, while Adam Hastings drops to the bench.     

Sean Maitland has been taken out of the squad with a new agreement that just five English-based players can be a part of the squad, while Dave Cherry also drops out in place of George Turner at hooker.     

Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg (c), Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Matt Fagerson, Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Zander Fagerson, George Turner, Rory Sutherland.