Wales closing in on top form, says former Cardiff winger Nigel Walker
WALES are “not a million miles away” from hitting top form, says ex-Wales and Cardiff winger Nigel Walker.
“What Wales have lacked is that fluency, there have been too many errors,” said Walker, who won 17 caps for Wales and forged a successful athletics career.
“If you want to play a more expansive game, you have to be more precise. If you stick it up your jumper you can get away with being less precise, and it becomes more turgid.
“But they are not a million miles away, and I expect them to get better as the tournament goes on.
“I’d expect them to be better again against France, and if they keep improving, by the time they play their fourth and fifth game they’ll be a real handful.
Despite entering tonight’s game unbeaten in their first two Six Nations fixtures, the French have been far from convincing.
However, Walker, 52, who is director at the English Institute of Sport, believes the French will pose a genuine threat tonight.
“There will be quite a severe test tonight,” he said.
“France aren’t the best team in the world at the moment, but they will pose a threat, although I do expect Wales to win.”
Of France’s new head coach, Walker said: “Guy Noves has had a brilliant coaching career with Toulouse, but over the past few years Toulouse have struggled under his watch.
“The difficulty with France is they have so many international class players, that over the past four or five years they have not known what their best 23 is, and that’s why they have struggled.
“I think they need to pick what they consider to be their best 23, and stick with that 23 for a period of time to let that side gel.
“Rather than one defeat, one unconvincing performance, and change the team.”
Arguably the most controversial selection ahead of tonight’s encounter was the selection of the much-maligned Alex Cuthbert.
“I was surprised because Tom James hadn’t done anything wrong in the two games that he’s played.
“Yes he broke clear on the blind-side, and many people criticised him for not scoring.
“Is that a mistake? I don’t know. Should he have scored? Probably.
“It seems to me that he’s been dropped for that, because he hasn’t done anything else wrong.
“I assume Alex Cuthbert has looked really sharp in training, and that the selectors want to see whether Alex Cuthbert has re-discovered the form he showed two years ago.”