Live updates

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

Four changes to Wales side ahead of France clash

Wales has made four changes to its side to face France on Saturday with George North, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris and Scott Baldwin all coming into the starting 15.

Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Wales team to face France:

Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, CAPT), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements:

Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Paul James (Bath), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

Wyn Jones: Wales 'growing' into Six Nations tournament

Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Lock Alun-Wyn Jones believes Wales are "growing" into this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Jones and company will head to Paris later this week for an appointment with France, knowing that a fourth successive Six Nations win against Les Bleus would keep alive title aspirations.

Wales would still require other results to work in their favour, but they are undoubtedly on the recovery trail, bouncing back to beat Scotland following an opening game loss to Millennium Stadium visitors England earlier this month.

After the obvious disappointment of the first game, especially the second half, we have grown. We are growing into the tournament. We need to get out of the blocks and stay out there.

– Alun-Wyn Jones

Wales name the team to face France this morning.

Scotland will appeal Finn Russell suspension

Finn collided with Dan Biggar Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images

Scotland will appeal against fly-half Finn Russell's suspension for the RBS 6 Nations match against Italy.

The 22-year-old was handed a three-week ban, reduced by a week for his clean record, following a collision with Wales counterpart Dan Biggar.

The Glasgow player avoided a lengthy ban as the Six Nations' disciplinary officers judged the incident during Sunday's 26-23 defeat to Wales to be "reckless rather than deliberate".

Russell collided with Biggar as his Wales counterpart leapt for a high ball into the Scotland half during the first period of Scotland's slender Murrayfield defeat. Ospreys playmaker Biggar landed in a heap, but avoided serious injury and was able to continue.

New Zealand referee Glen Jackson sin-binned Russell, but a Six Nations disciplinary committee ruled the offence warranted a red card following a hearing in London.

Millennium Stadium is loudest of Six Nations grounds

The Millennium Stadium in Wales is the loudest of all the RBS 6 Nations venues, a study carried out by Press Association Sport has revealed.

Researchers tracked the decibel levels at the six fixtures so far in this year's competition.

The Millennium Stadium is the loudest of the Six Nations stadiums Credit: PA

The Millennium Stadium's average of 92.0decibels was comfortably the highest of the lot, while its top reading of 100decibels was beaten only by the roar at full-time of Ireland's win over France - when the delighted Aviva crowd in Dublin hit 101.0decibels.

Cardiff led the way in terms of average, followed by Dublin and Twickenham.

The Aviva and the Millennium stadiums were the only venues to break the 100dB mark at their loudest.

  • Millennium Stadium - Wales v England (92.0dB)
  • Aviva Stadium - Ireland v France (89.8dB)
  • Twickenham - England v Italy (88.4dB)
  • Murrayfield - Scotland v Wales (88.0dB)
  • Stadio Olimpico - Italy v Ireland (86.1dB)
  • Stade de France - France v Scotland (85.1dB)
Load more updates