Wales have enjoyed plenty of success in the Six Nations over the years, but the 2023 version has been a tough one so far. They have looked like a shadow of their former selves, but can Warren Gatland turn their fortunes around before the 2023 Rugby World Cup kicks off later in the year?
Can Wales Finish On a High?
Before a ball was kicked in the 2023 Six Nations Championship, Ireland, England, France, and Scotland were all fancied to win the tournament ahead of Wales. Their campaign ends with a trip to France in mid-March. The Welsh will be the underdogs in the France v Wales odds, and they could be on the wrong end of a heavy defeat in Saint-Denis if recent results are anything to go by. Ireland are the big favorites to win the tournament at -1200, while Scotland (+900), France (+1400), and England (+2500) are outsiders.
Despite the popular Gatland taking over again, the Welsh have had a tough Six Nations on and off the field. Over the years, Wales has a superb record in the Six Nations, winning the Grand Slam on 12 occasions, but this year’s championship has been one to forget.
Wales Already Looking to World Cup
Wales lost their opening three Six Nations matches of the campaign. They kicked off the tournament with a humbling 34-10 loss to Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. Game two was also a disaster, as the Welsh were hammered 35-7 by rampant Scotland at Murrayfield Stadium. It was the Scots’ biggest win over Wales in any competition.
After the big losses to Ireland and Scotland, the Wales supporters would have been fearing the worst when their team went up against old rivals England in Cardiff on matchday three. However, to their credit, Gatland’s side were much more competitive in that one, losing 20-10 on home soil.
Last year’s Six Nations tournament was also a poor one for Wales. Italy stunned the Welsh in Cardiff 12 months ago, winning by one point thanks to a last-gasp converted try. The 22-21 success was Italy’s first away win over Wales and their first victory against the Dragons in the Six Nations since 2007.
Gatland is a legend in Wales after guiding the nation to three Grand Slams. The last of those came in 2019, but much has changed with the Welsh rugby team and Gatland. The New Zealander is regarded as one of the best and most successful coaches in the world, but getting Wales out of this mess could be one of his career’s biggest achievements.
With the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France quickly approaching, Wales desperately needs to find some positive form. A strong finish to their 2023 Six Nations campaign would be a good place to start.
The Welsh are going through a tough time on and off the field now, but Gatland can certainly get the nation back on its feet in time for the World Cup later in the year.