Coach Warren Gatland has selected his team to play France on Friday. The big news is the inclusion of Mike Phillips on the bench plus Jonathan Thomas switching from lock to back-row to fill the gap left by Powell’s banishment from the squad after being charged with drink-driving.
Thomas moving and the injury to Alun Wyn Jones, gives Deiniol Jones and Bradley Williams the chance in the second-row.
Gatland has singled out the back-row as the area needing improvement against the powerful French saying: (quote) We missed, I think, 10 tackles between the back-row, Martyn has missed a few tackles and he has been the first to put his hand up and needs to rectify his performance and get it right and he normally responds exceptionally well to that. I think what has pleased me about Martyn in the last week or so is he has recognised that as a loose-forward trio we probably did not do so well against Scotland.(end quote)
Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Richard Rees (Blues); Paul James, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Martyn Williams (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt) Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Rhys Gill (Saracens), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Sam Warburton (Blues), Mike Phillips (Ospreys), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys) , Tom Shanklin (Blues).
RBS SIX NATIONS Wales v France Millennium Stadium Friday, 26 February Kick-off: 2000 GMT