sport news Warren Gatland heaps pressure on his Wales team ahead of France game

Win in Paris, win the tournament. That has been Warren Gatland's message ahead of Wales' trip to France on Friday night. 

In his last Six Nations with Wales he has no time for hiding his light under a bushel. This is not the tournament for 'flying under the radar'.

Gatland will often temper his private utterings for the public, but this time he is heaping the pressure on the opening game. He was at it again this week.

Warren Gatland has heaped pressure on the opening game of the Six Nations tournament

Warren Gatland has heaped pressure on the opening game of the Six Nations tournament

The Wales coach believes his team can win the tournament if they beat France on Friday night

The Wales coach believes his team can win the tournament if they beat France on Friday night

'I've been pretty open that we have a good chance of winning the Six Nations,' he said having picked his team.

'I think if we win this first game, we can win it given we have home games. I haven't really contemplated anything other than winning the Six Nations.

'I haven't talked or thought about finishing position. We came second last year which was ok. It would be great for us to win the Six Nations but we know there's the World Cup.'

For the next seven weeks that wider context does not matter too much - Wales might not be backed by the bookmakers, still priced as 5-1 shots to win the Six Nations, but with after this, a long build-up to England at home, Scotland away and then Ireland back in Cardiff Gatland is right. Win on Friday night and it is on.

'You want to get out of the blocks and get your foot in the door,' said captain Alun Wyn Jones.

'We find ourselves here in France against a side that is probably going to be buoyed on the back of a pretty decent 2018.

'It's probably the biggest pack they could have picked with a few ball players in the back line. They have a few guys coming back into the side and a new cap in Romain Ntamack at centre.

'We're fully aware of the strength they have and the way they're likely to play with a pack that drive a lot and ball players behind. It's one of the most French sides I've probably played against.'

Equally, though, lose on Friday night and it suddenly looks so tricky. That is the caveat Gatland has not added to his bullish prediction.

Josh Navidi and his team-mates will be faced by a 150-stone pack in Paris on Friday evening

Josh Navidi and his team-mates

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