The aging squad, the return of coach Warren Gatland… Wales in four realities

The aging squad, the return of coach Warren Gatland… Wales in four realities

Leek’s XV, penultimate of the 2022 edition, starts the Six Nations against Ireland on Saturday.

A year out of the World Cup, France is putting their title back in play… It’s the 2023 edition of the challenging Six Nations tournament that starts on the 4th and 5th of February. Until the start of the first matches, franceinfo: sport presents the six countries involved. After the fifteenth of France on Monday, This Tuesday, January 31st, it’s Wells’ turn.

The Dynamism: Warren Gatland for Finding Heights

Wales awaits a new era Warren Gatland. Chosen to succeed Wayne Pivac, who was relegated last December after a disastrous 2022 (only three wins in 12 games and a defeat against Georgia), the New Zealander has found a team he has already led between 2008 and 2019.

During these eleven years, Gatland propelled the Welsh to the pinnacle of their success, with four victories in the Six Nations Championship, and two World Cup semi-final wickets in three editions. He must work his magic again to straighten out the ailing team and find the path to victory. “They’re trying to change, a positive electric shock.”Vincent Clerk sums it up. “We will have to meet again, and work hard together, so that the group can compete with the best countries.”said Warren Gatland on January 23 on the Welsh FA website.

Strength: present at major events

A historic country on the European scene, Wales knows how to be present at major events. “They may have the smallest group of players, but they’ve hit the most Grand Slams in recent years. It’s a great team.”, recalls Yannick Nyanga, consultant for France Télévisions. They can also count on the good form of their clubs, all of which have qualified for the last 16 European Cups, where the vast majority of players play.

Weakness: The aging team

“Wales are having a hard time at the moment, the team is on a losing streak. There are probably a little less chances than in other countries.”Former ward Vincent Clerc, TV France consultant, steps forward. After losing momentum after a disastrous 2022 Championship (5th), and a summer run where they hit rock bottom in particular with their loss to Georgia (13-12), the Leek XV decapitated Wayne Pivac, replacing him with Warren Gatland. But the selection is also facing an aging workforce (thirties Dan Biggar, Alex Cuthbert, Taulupe Faletau, Alun Wayne Jones, Justin Tiburek…), while young players are slowing down to impose themselves.

Player to watch: Christ Chionza to lead the next generation

And if he is the future big star of Welsh rugby? At just 21 years old, Chionza is eagerly awaiting Christ’s supporters. Hailing from Exeter, England, originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and with an atypical background (he played a few months in both the Premier League and University League with Exeter), he shone on the lawns from the start. (3 trials). He was selected for the first time at the end of 2021, at the age of just 19 years old He has everything to force himself into a turn in the second row.

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