International

Wales make three changes for France

imageWales have made three changes for their side to face France at Principality Stadium on Friday (KO 20:05).

Alex Cuthbert, Bradley Davies and Dan Lydiate are all named in the starting XV as Wales look to continue their unbeaten run in the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.

Cuthbert, who has scored 15 tries in his 40 outings for Wales, comes back into the starting line-up for Tom James and is the only change in the backline.  The Cardiff Blues wing will form a back-three alongside George North and Liam Williams.

The half-back and midfield partnerships remain the same with Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar named at scrum-half and fly-half respectively and Jamie Roberts partnering Jonathan Davies in the centre.

It is an unchanged front-row with Rob Evans, Scott Baldwin and Samson Lee packing down for a third consecutive match together.

Bradley Davies, who won his 50th test cap against Ireland in the opening match of the Championship, comes into the second-row to start alongside Alun Wyn Jones. Luke Charteris, who started the first two games of Six Nations, misses out with knee injury.

In the back-row Dan Lydiate returns to the starting side and the number six jersey, with Justin Tipuric moving to the bench and captain Sam Warburton moving back to openside.  Taulupe Faletau completes the trio at number eight.

“We have made a couple of changes, one injury enforced with Luke (Charteris) missing out with a knee injury, but Bradley (Davies) deserves a starting spot as well so it’s a good opportunity for him,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“We have made two other personnel changes with Alex (Cuthbert) and Dan (Lydiate) coming into the starting team.  They have trained well and will suit the game France will potentially bring as well.

“We initially thought we would have to wait until later in the week to have a final update on injuries, but we know where we are earlier than expected and have told the squad, hence announcing today as well.

“It’s set to be another huge Six Nations weekend, France come to Cardiff unbeaten in the campaign so far and impressing under Guy (Noves).  We are looking to continue our unbeaten run and will be looking for another step up after the victory over Scotland.”

There are two personnel changes amongst the replacements with Jake Ball coming into the match day 23 alongside Tipuric.  Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins and Tomas Francis continue to provide the front-row cover and the backline replacements remain the same with Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland and Gareth Anscombe all named.

Wales team to play France:

Liam Williams (Scarlets), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), George North (Northampton Saints), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets); Rob Evans (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, CAPT), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Priestland (Bath Rugby), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues).

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