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Wales rugby: James out, Warburton and Biggar fit

Wales prop Paul James has been ruled out of action for the rest of the Six Nations. He fractured his thumb during the team's clash against France on Saturday.

Credit: PA

Flanker Sam Warburton will return to training later this week after suffering a knee injury while fly-half Dan Biggar will also be back in training after injuring his hip.

Lydiate: still work to do for Wales

Dan Lydiate insists Wales will not be distracted by any RBS 6 Nations title talk after they kept the pressure on pace-setters England and Ireland by beating France in Paris.

Lydiate was in impressive form for Wales against France. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Although Wales are outsiders in what has become a three-horse race for Six Nations silverware this season, their 20-13 victory over Les Bleus continued an impressive recovery since losing at home to England last month.

And flanker Lydiate was a key figure as Wales defeated France for a fourth time in succession, highlighting his performance by delivering a brilliant reverse scoring pass to fly-half Dan Biggar for the 60th-minute touchdown that gave Sam Warburton's team priceless breathing space.

"We are not going to get ahead of ourselves, because we know there's plenty to work on...We got the win but we have a big game coming up the weekend after next (against Ireland)...After the first game against England it was all doom and gloom, so we will just stay focused on the challenge in hand. It is a lot more positive after this game than it was after the first match...We got a result in Scotland and the win over France gets the ball rolling again. We are back in the hunt."

– Dan Lydiate, Wales flanker


HT: France 3 - 6 Wales

It is currently half time as Wales take on France in the RBS Six Nations. The latest score France 3 - 6 Wales after two penalty kicks from fly-half Leigh Halfpenny.


Howley hails 'exceptional' North

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Rob Howley has hailed Wales star George North's "exceptional" ability as he prepares to set a new world record in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown against France.

At 22, North will become the youngest player in international rugby union history to make 50 Test match appearances - 47 for Wales and three as a British and Irish Lion.

Saturday's Paris clash also marks a return to action three weeks after taking two heavy blows to his head during the 21-16 home defeat against England.

Although Northampton wing North was not concussed, he still followed graduated return-to-play protocols and Wales decided to rest him for their Murrayfield appointment with Scotland 11 days ago.

North's comeback is among four changes from the side that saw off Scotland, with Wales heading to Stade de France knowing that a fourth successive victory over Les Bleus would keep them in Six Nations title contention.

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

He is an exceptional player. George scored the last time we were out there (Paris) in 2013 and last year in Cardiff when they messed up at the back in defence. So he has a pretty good try-scoring record, and hopefully it will continue on the weekend.

It is a phenomenal record (50 Tests). If you think when we gave George his first cap back in 2010 against South Africa when he was just 18, and you look back at that performance at such a young age, he showed a maturity on the wing and the number of touches he had, scoring two great tries.

That's the question we want to keep asking of George.

– Rob Howley, Wales Assistant Coach

Bastareaud benched for game against Wales

Bastareaud played in France's defeat to Ireland. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Mathieu Bastareaud has been named as a sub for France's Six Nations match against Wales this weekend.

The Toulon centre has been dropped to the bench following France's 18-11 defeat to Ireland in the last round of games.

Wales' team to face Les Bleus was announced yesterday.

France's starting XV to play Wales:

Mathieu Bastareaud is only good enough for the bench this Saturday. Credit: FFRugby

Gatland: Wales 'looking to improve' in France clash

Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland says the side is seeking another improvement against France this weekend after beating Scotland.

We felt we improved against Scotland and we are looking for another improvement this weekend. It’s a tough competition to go on the road and ask for that - but that is what we are looking for.

We have a lot of strength in depth at second-row, it is a chance for Luke Charteris to get a start and we have been impressed with Bradley Davies as well. It is nothing against Jake but we have a lot of strength in depth and it’s an opportunity to see the other two.

It’s a chance for Scott Baldwin to start as well - the last time he started he went well in the victory over South Africa. It is great to have Samson back available and it was a tough call in the back-three but we have decided to go with Liam and George.

– Warren Gatland

North and Lee both recalled by Wales to face France

Samson Lee suffered concussion in the England match but has been recalled to face France. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Wing George North and prop Samson Lee have both been recalled by Wales for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against France in Paris.

North has not played since taking two blows to his head during a 21-16 home defeat against England earlier this month, with Wales deciding to rest him for the Scotland game nine days ago.

But Northampton star North now returns, replacing his fellow 2013 British and Irish Lion Alex Cuthbert, while Lee - who was concussed in the England match - takes over from Aaron Jarvis. Two other changes following the victory over Scotland see starts for hooker Scott Baldwin and lock Luke Charteris.

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