Gareth Davies has installed France scrum-half Antoine Dupont as the dangerman Wales must keep quiet this weekend in round three of the Guinness Six Nations.
The Scarlets man went head-to-head with the 23-year-old rising Toulouse star in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan earlier in the season when Wales came out on top 20-19 in Oita.
But Dupont has been in brilliant form in France’s opening two games in the 2020 Six Nations and has been branded by Davies as one of the most in-form players in the world. He has already racked up 138 running metres and made six offloads as Les Bleus have remained unbeaten.
Now, he will be hoping to end a decade long wait for a French win in the Welsh capital in the Championship as his side attempts to stay on course for a possible Grand Slam.
“He is probably one of the most in-form players in the world and he is playing with a lot of confidence,” said Davies, who is Wales’ second highest try scorer from scrum half with 14 from 52 appearances.
“He seems to be making the right decisions all the time, which is important for a scrum-half. Whoever plays against him I’m sure we’ll have to be at the top of our game to keep him quiet.”
While France are seeking a third win in a row, Wales will be attempting to extend their unbeaten home run in the Six Nations to eight games.
Davies had a fine World Cup campaign and scored two tries – including a crucial intercept against Australia – as Wales finished in fourth place.
The 29-year-old is one of three No 9s in Wayne Pivac’s current Wales squad alongside Tomos Williams of Cardiff Blues and Rhys Webb.
“It’s good. From a Welsh rugby point of view it’s great to have competition. At scrum-half we’ve got three of us now who are pretty decent,” Davies said.
“It’s healthy and keeps us all on our toes. Every training session we know we have to be performing to our best to win the right to take the field at the weekend.
“From my point of view I think I’ve always had competition for my position whether it’s club or international rugby. I’m used to it.”
Davies sat out Wales’ 42-0 opening-round win over Italy in Cardiff with a slight injury as Williams started the game with Webb among the replacements.
Williams scored a try in the 24-14 defeat by Ireland before being replaced by Davies at the Aviva Stadium with Welsh eyes now set on meeting France.
“It’s been quite a tough week to be honest. We all came back from Dublin feeling quite flat. We were quite disappointed looking back on the game, but we are looking forward now,” Davies said.
“In international rugby anything can happen. The French have really come on in the last couple of seasons and have been the best they’ve been for a while. It’s going to be a massive challenge for us.
“We had a tough game against them at the World Cup. It was very physical and they tried to play some good rugby. We will look at that game and learn from where we were slightly disappointed.
“We’ll concentrate on ourselves and improve on areas from the Irish and then hopefully we’ll be alright for the French.”