France sit pretty on top of the Six Nations' table after three rounds of action and that has largely been down to their defensive system and ability to launch counter attacks from it. The impact from former Wales' defence coach Shaun Edwards has been immediate after he was lured across the English Channel to join the new-look Les Bleus coaching set-up under Fabien Galthie after 12 years in Wales.
We have turned to defence guru and professional defence Omar Mouneimne to give us insight into what exactly makes France's defence so effective. According to the Worcester Warriors' defence coach, Shaun Edwards is a master at slowing the ball down as he implements the three-step defensive system.
The system includes what is dubbed a 'hit, choke, soak' or a 'slow poison' method. The method includes three ways of slowing the ball down for the opposition:
A - The defence hits you hard and counter ruck or dislodge the ball
B - The defence hits the ball carrier hard but he survives the hit and you hold him up
C - The defender choke tackles the ball carrier but still competes on the ground and jackals over the ball.
Those are three options and if you fail to get a good hit on the ball carrier and can't hold him up, the last prize is to get the man to ground with a less dominant hit but still counter ruck.
Omar explains all these principles of France's Dark Arts defence in the clip below as well touching on France's kicking game:
France's defence has really paved the way for them to reach the top of the table as they average more kicks in play (35.7) and tackles made (175.7) on average in the competition so far with only England (8.3) edging them out for the most turnovers won per game (8).
France comfortably average more tackles tackle than any other side with second-placed Italy some 21 tackles per game adrift. This also leads to France conceding a high number of penalties per game (10.3) which ranks them as the third-highest offenders behind Scotland (11.7) and Italy (10.7) respectively.