1. ITV Report

Wales look to bounce back in Six Nations clash with France

Ryan Jones returns to captain Wales, as they look to break a run of eight defeats in a row against France. Photo: PA

Wales prepare to face Les Bleus at Stade de France later as they fight to stay in this season's Six Nations title race.

The reigning champions were left reeling by a first-half no show against Ireland last weekend, ultimately losing 30-22.

A repeat performance would inevitably consign Wales to another defeat, leaving them scrapping for minor placings in a tournament they dominated last season.

The atmosphere was there, spurring us on, but it just didn't happen for us. We didn't have that edge you need in that first 20 minutes. We've talked about it a lot, and hopefully we'll put things into practice this time. I don't think there is much you can change. Everyone is mentally focused - it's about getting pumped up and rising to the challenge.

– Gethin Jenkins, Wales prop

Despite the side being haunted by a poor record in Paris - just three wins since 1975 - interim coach Rob Howley says a win is definitely within the team's grasp.

Wales, though, have arrived in the French capital as underdogs - especially with skipper Sam Warburton now on an injury list that has already included players like Dan Lydiate, Rhys Priestland, Alun-Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris.

Ryan Jones, who captains his country for the 30th time, and Justin Tipuric pack down in a reshaped back-row, while Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard takes over from Matthew Rees, but it is behind the scrum where Wales must show a considerable improvement.

Howley has kept faith with a back division that struggled badly in the first-half against Ireland, yet the ability is unquestionably there if players can rediscover the composure to underpin their talent.

It will be another major examination for fly-half playmaker Dan Biggar, but today could be the day when he emerges from the shadows of players like Priestland and James Hook.

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