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Gatland rolls the dice again with six changes to latest Wales team

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/Getty Images)

Warren Gatland has unveiled a Wales team to take on France away with six changes from last Saturday’s Roman success over Italy. The Welsh were 29-17 round four winners last Saturday and their side to finish the Guinness Six Nations championship against the French now has another raft of alterations.

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Liam Williams’ injury has allowed Louis-Rees Zammit to come off the bench for a full-back start and there is also a changed midfield partnership with George North, another sub in Rome, named in a combination with Nick Tompkins. Mason Grady and Joe Hawkins miss out. The other backline switch sees Dan Biggar restored to No10 with Owen Williams dropping to the bench.

In the pack, Alun Wyn Jones is also back with Daffyd Jenkins named as a sub, and Aaron Wainwright is also recalled at the expense of Jac Morgan. On the bench, Bradley Roberts takes over as reserve hooker from the injured Scott Baldwin, while Leigh Halfpenny is also included following the naming of Rees-Zammit as the starting No15.

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Gatland said: “Last weekend was really important for us getting a win in the Six Nations and building a bit of confidence. It was a step in the right direction but there is still a lot for us to work on. We have worked hard on a few things in terms of tidying some of the defensive lapses that we have made and getting some of those things right. We are still working hard on our attack.

“France last weekend put in probably one of the best performances seen in a long, long time. They are the number two team in the world. They bring a really physical approach to the way they play and they have tended to start well. So that is the important thing.

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“We have got to go out there and start well, make sure we are in that arm wrestle with them and give ourselves that opportunity. They are a team that kicks the ball a lot, so we have also got to make sure that our backfield is right and we have got to be good in the air.”

Wales team (vs France, Saturday – 2:45)
15. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby / Caerloyw– 24 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 48 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys / Gweilch– 112 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 26 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 6 caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Toulon – 106 caps)
9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys / Gweilch– 39 caps)
1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 47 caps)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets – 90 caps) captain
3. Tomas Francis (Ospreys / Gweilch– 70 caps)
4. Adam Beard (Ospreys / Gweilch – 45 caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys / Gweilch – 157 caps)
6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons / Dregiau– 36 caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys / Gweilch – 92 caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 99 caps)

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Replacements:
16. Bradley Roberts (Dragons / Dreigiau – 4 caps)
17. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys / Gweilch– 20 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd– 49 caps)
19. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 5 caps)
20. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers / Caerl?r – 8 caps)
21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd– 44 caps)
22. Owen Williams (Ospreys / Gweilch– 6 caps)
23. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 98 caps)

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