France coach Fabien Galthie has hit back at Wales prop Wyn Jones’ suggestion that the visiting scrum will “cheat” when the sides meet in Cardiff, saying the comments demonstrate a lack of respect for the whole country.

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Jones did not hold back in his assessment of how France might approach their bid to land a first Guinness Six Nations win in the Welsh capital since 2010 and predicted that the pack would be “ill-disciplined”.

“We know they will hit and chase and cheat,” he said. “That’s something we are fully aware of and something we’ve got to combat on the day.

“They will look to push early, they will look to mess about at scrum time. That’s something we’ve looked at. We will just concentrate on ourselves.”

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Galthie said Jones’ comments were not in keeping with the spirit of the Six Nations.

“It’s a lack of respect for our scrum, a lack of respect for our team, a lack of respect for French rugby but also for our nation,” he told a press conference.

“This is the Six Nations tournament and in the Six Nations tournament there is no room for these kind of remarks.”

Former France hooker Raphael Ibanez, who now serves as the national team’s manager, added: “It is a rude and childish attack.

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“We have points of reference, these are the tournament referees with whom we work well, very intelligently.

“A coach or an opposing player are not our points of reference. Seeing them being so afraid makes us smile.”

Centre Virimi Vakatawa will return from injury for the trip to Cardiff.

Vakatawa missed the victory over Italy 11 days ago, but he will line up alongside Arthur Vincent in midfield at the Principality Stadium.

Gael Fickou moves to the wing, where he replaces the injured Vincent Rattez.

France are otherwise unchanged, although switches on the bench see opportunities for prop Jean-Baptiste Gros and flanker Dylan Cretin. Jefferson Poirot and Cameron Woki drop out.

France are currently top of the championship following two wins.

Team: A Bouthier (Montpellier); T Thomas (Racing 92), V Vakatawa (Racing 92), A Vincent (Montpellier), G Fickou (Stade Francais); R Ntamack (Toulouse), A Dupont (Toulouse); C Baille (Toulouse), J Marchand (Toulouse), M Haouas (Montpellier), B Le Roux (Racing 92), P Willemse (Montpellier), F Cros (Toulouse), C Ollivon (Toulon, capt), G Alldritt (La Rochelle).

Replacements: C Chat (Racing 92), J-B Gros (Toulon), D Bamba (Lyon), R Taofifenua (Toulon), D Cretin (Lyon), B Serin (Toulon), M Jalibert (Bordeaux-Begles), T Ramos (Toulouse).

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