Wales will field the most capped team in Six Nations history on Saturday – and head coach Wayne Pivac hopes that experience can be a factor against France.
The Welsh starting line-up contains a record 859 caps, with more than half the side having played at least 50 Tests and skipper Alun Wyn Jones edging close to 140 for his country. It breaks the previous best mark of 822 set by Italy against Scotland in 2012.
“If we can start well, which is something we are trying to achieve in both halves – we have been a bit slow out of the blocks – then that experience will hopefully come through for us and will test some of the inexperienced players in their side.”
Davies replaces Tomos Williams while Moriarty takes over from Aaron Wainwright, packing down in the back row alongside Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau. Williams and Wainwright are both among the replacements, where there is also a role for uncapped Wasps lock Will Rowlands.
(Continue reading below…)
Jim Hamilton and Darren Cave give their predictions as Wales take on France
Wing Josh Adams and fly-half Dan Biggar, who went off during the Ireland game, are fit to face Les Bleus and both start. Prolific try-scorer Adams took a knock to his hip, while Biggar failed a head injury assessment.
Northampton star Biggar, who suffered two head injuries during the World Cup earlier this season, has fully trained since last week and completed all return-to-play protocols. All testing was undertaken with the addition of a globally renowned concussion expert reviewing Biggar’s return, which was proactively sought by the Welsh Rugby Union’s medical team.
Pivac added: “He [Biggar] has gone through the regular process and passed those with flying colours. We’ve also gone to a world-leading expert in concussion, who he has seen previously at the World Cup. Every precaution has been taken. He has come through it and been cleared to play. He’s good to go and has trained very well this week.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 20, 2020
Victory for Wales would keep them in the title mix – and recent history is on their side. France have not won a Six Nations game in Cardiff since they triumphed there 10 years ago, losing on four successive occasions. Wales have also won eight of the countries’ last nine meetings, including a World Cup quarter-final in Japan four months ago.
France, though, are unbeaten from their first two games in this season’s Six Nations and now have former Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards in their backroom team. “They have started very well in this competition with a great win over England and backed it up with a five-pointer against Italy. They come full of confidence,” Pivac said.
France are riding a wave of optimism after an unbeaten start to the Six Nations with Wales next to test their resolve. RugbyPass digs deep into the reasons behind the French renaissance…
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 19, 2020
“It’s been about us wanting to get back out there and right some of the wrongs from the Ireland game. We know we have got a better performance in us. Saturday is a big test for both teams. It’s a very big test. For us, it’s to keep us alive in the championship, and for France, it’s their first game away.
“It will be interesting to see how both teams approach the game, but from our point of view it’s to keep ourselves alive, and we are looking for a very big performance. If we can get the win and England do a job at home (against Ireland on Sunday), then what an exciting championship we’ve got with two games remaining.”
– Press Association
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