Our goal is to be better than last year - Henry
February 1, 2000
Wales' coach Graham Henry believes that teams will need to retain tighter discipline in this season's TSB Six Nations Championship.
Henry's warning comes as referees prepare to use the sin bin, if required, for the first time in European rugby's showpiece international tournament.
"I think referees will use the sin bin for professional fouls and things that the official feels are reasonably serious," Henry said.
"Teams will have to be very disciplined. If you are one man down, then the statistics show that on average sides give away nine points during that 10-minute period."
Wales enter the Six Nations arena against France in Cardiff on Saturday with 11 survivors from the side that recorded a famous victory in Paris last season.
Henry has adopted a `horses for courses' selection policy, although his options have been a little restricted with centres Scott Gibbs and Alan Bateman, together with lock Craig Quinnell, all ruled out by injury.
Sydney-born centre Jason Jones-Hughes makes his championship debut in place of Gibbs, while talented Pontypridd youngster Ian Gough takes over from Quinnell.
Bateman was challenging for the left wing berth, along with Dafydd James and uncapped Neath youngster Shane Williams, but a groin problem meant he could not be considered.
Williams must also wait for his Test debut, as Henry sticks with James, a consistent quality performer at international level.
Henry expects what he terms "a huge challenge" from France, runners-up to Australia in World Cup '99.
"On paper, they are probably the best team in the Six Nations. They will be on a high after the World Cup and will be going flat out to win this
"On their day, the French can play as well as anyone in the world, if not better, and that prospect should put our players on the edge for this game."
Wales ended last season's final Five Nations tournament with breathtaking back-to-back victories over France and England, and with three of their five matches this term at the Millennium Stadium, they look well set for a sound campaign.
"Our goal for this championship is to be better than we were last season. We need to move further up the graph," Henry said.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September