WATCH: David Wallace predicts Schmidt's tactics will overcome French flair
Flair can only get you so far.
Former Munster, Ireland and Lions star David Wallace has backed Ireland’s tactical superiority to help them overcome France's attacking threat in Saturday’s Six Nations match in the Aviva Stadium.
Speaking on TV3’s The Clubhouse, Wallace responded to concerns that France are rediscovering some of their traditional flair under Guy Novès. He acknowledged the threat posed by France but explained why Ireland deserved to have the favourites tag going into Saturday's match.
“I’d be fairly confident but it is a different French team,” Wallace said on the show. “They are playing with that flair, they’re playing with the offload and their line breaks - they've gone sky high.
“They’re a very, very dangerous team on the attack but technically they are vulnerable and I think Joe Schmidt will be probably too smart for them and I think tactically we might be a little bit too smart for them, hopefully. I’m presuming a lot of balls in the air, kicks in behind them, challenging their wingers and getting them to turn.”
However, he pointed out that France’s size and attacking threat make them a dangerous opponent.
“If they get a head of steam, they’re a big, big physical pack,” Wallace added. “[Louis] Picamoles is a one-man carrying machine and he’s surrounded by big, big men and they’ve a lot of potency but hopefully we can outsmart them.”
Wallace also speaks about the shock everyone felt at Anthony “Axel” Foley’s sudden passing. He paid tribute to his former teammate and the legacy that Foley left behind at Munster.
“He represented the club for so many years as a figurehead, as a player and as a coach,” says Wallace. “So I think people identified him with being Munster. There are very few people, if any, who were involved in Munster for the tenure that he had, for the length of time. Also, I suppose how he approached Munster, his attitude to it and how he gave that feeling to other players around him, and especially the younger players.
“We’re seeing them peaking and come to fruition. A lot of that is based on Axel and the guidance and the mentoring that he gave them over the last few years.”
The other guest on tonight’s episode of The Clubhouse is comedian Jarlath Regan. The Clubhouse airs at 10.30pm on TV3.
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