Six Nations 2013: Wales team to play France


Rob Howley has selected the following team to play France this Saturday. Kick-off is at 17.00 (local time).

Sam Warburton misses out through injury with Justin Tipuric starting at openside and Ryan Jones as captain.

Leigh Halfpenny
Alex Cuthbert
Jonathan Davies
Jamie Roberts
George North
Dan Biggar
Mike Phillips

Gethin Jenkins
Richard Hibbard
Adam Jones
Andrew Coombs
Ian Evans
Ryan Jones (C)
Justin Tipuric
Toby Faletau

Ken Owens, Paul James, Craig Mitchell, Lou Reed, Aaron Shingler, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams

30 thoughts on “Six Nations 2013: Wales team to play France

  1. Think Wales just need to get out and play. As a journalist and a rugby fan all ive noticed this repeated talk coming out the Wales camp is starting to contradict itself. Beat the French, get back on the horse and the wins will come. No more rallying cries or last stands. Tipuric starting though, he was excellent when he came off the bench last weekend. Big plus.

  2. What a blessing it is for Wales that Warburton is injured. It has forced them into making the decision that they needed to make!

  3. At least Tipuric is there even if it has been forced by an injury

    Interested by the decision to play Jenkins and Phillips again, both looked well off the pace last weekend

    Hope Ryan Jones is a bit better than he was in the autumn – thought he played very badly then

    1. Agreed with regard to Jones. He gave away far too many penalties and looked a shadow of his former self on the pitch (although the latter comment could apply to pretty much the whole welsh team in the AI’s).

      Not sure that the French on the rebound was what Howley wanted, and will be interesting to see what game plan he goes for. Hopefully the second half one!

  4. Paul James would have added a bit more to the scrum than Gethin who is certainly off the pace in the loose too almost as if he’s being played to get match fit after his disaster move to Toloun .

    Injuries dictating some change . Mike Phillips’ ball-watching needs to stop now and he is lucky to be there in my view.

    Hibbard and Tipuric are the two positives Ryan Jones had a good season last year -everyone was off the pace in the autumn Halfpenny apart – and he’s one who is probably motivated most by the possibility of the Lions tour.

    I’m not holding out any great hopes as I’m expecting a French backlash but they have nothing to lose now .

  5. A nearly there selection. Sticking with Phillips and Jenkins though clearly indicates that this management team do not know what they are doing – picking them just because they play in France (admitted as much this week with Mark Jones claiming it gave those players an edge).

    Roberts in midfield – pffft. Should be Hook or Williams so we can seem some play.

    Still think Wales can win. A wounded France is a bit of a cliche – it didn’t help them much last year. Wales also go into this on the back of a painful defeat but with the belief that they can play rugby after the 2nd half. However, I fully expect Howley to stuff their heads full of pseudo-sports-science bull again and doubt we’ll start playing until 30 mins again. Howley just has to go and do one. Please.

  6. Was Ryan Jones injured last week? Seems odd to me that someone who could not get in last weeks squad is not only starting this week, but is named captain. Can’t be good for the team psychologically can it?
    Surely at least one of the other players from last weeks squad could be named captain for this game?

    1. Ryan Jones was injured last week. I don’t think there is anyone else that could really be given the captaincy so I can see why they went for R.Jones.

  7. I would put George North in the centre in place of Roberts, Halfpenny on the wing, Lee Byrne at full back. Phillips and Biggar are not conecting, so Hook should be 10

  8. Good choices. Not sure it’s enough still, but it’s definitely in the right direction.

    I’d have personally dropped Ian Evans and had him come on as a late sub for Ryan Jones in 2nd row (Shingler can stay back row). Evans was very weak against Ireland and looked like he wasn’t back to match fitness yet.

    Phillips doesn’t deserve to start either, Lloyd Williams was far superior last game. I get that Phillips brings more experience to the team, but you have to play the form players if you want to win. Just like Gethin, full of experience but should NOT be starting at the moment.

    Glad to see they’ve finally realised Matthew Rees has lost it. Hasn’t performed for us for years and gets picked every single game, whilst Hibbard performs week in week out domestically and doesn’t get a shot.
    All in all better picks, and a strong step in the right direction, but not the team I’d pick.

    I think it would be a brave move, but I’d also consider dropping Cuthbert (was terrible against the Irish, and not much better in the Autumn internationals), moving Halfpenny to wing, and bringing Lee Byrne back in to the squad. He’s been on great form for Clermont recently and will know the French side better than most.

  9. I don’t often say this, because I don’t think Hook is a fly-half but… why not put him in at fly-half. It can’t be worse than Biggar or Priestland have been.

    I think the chances at the weekend are still fairly grim for Wales. Sure it was a good half against Ireland and France lost to Italy. However, I think France are going to have had a thorough bollocking and I suspect they’ll look like a very different team this week. I think Wales will look the same.

    1. Could have said the same last year after England’s woeful showings against Italy and Scotland – lucky wins both. However, the same team went on to significantly improve.

      I understand the glee that the non-Welsh are feeling right now to see the Grand Slam champs down where other nations feel they belong (despite doing the “playing above themselves” enough to win 3 slams in 7 years).

      I understand that if we are talking about France then it’s ok to look at the upside after their 2nd consecutive loss in Italy and say “France are not that bad, they’ll get better”.

      Conversely when talking about Wales to only look at the downside with “Wales were lucky/above-themselves when they did play well, this is their true level” and to ignore that fact their their “drubbing” last weekend was by 8 points.

      I understand that when England looked slow and stodgy against SA and AUS it’s ok to dismiss those as blips because their game against NZ is their true form.

      Doesn’t make any of it right though, just shows that no matter what results some countries achieve others will be dying to see them fail again so all of the told-you-so’s can come out and any chance of them ever doing it again can be thoroughly dismissed as fantasy because, when you get down to the basics of it, Wales just cannot be any good … can they?

      1. Wales stand a better chance of beating France than I gave England of beating NZ.

        However Wales are on an abnormally bad run, still have a lot of injury issues (e.g. last year’s player of the championship), some questionable selections, abnormally poor regional form in all competitions and debatable coaching leadership. France don’t often put in 2 bad performances in a row and had earned their position as a top tier seed for the RWC. If Wales play like they did in the second half they may win, but I think they will be facing a French performance of the Australia, Samoa, Argentina vintage, not the Tonga/Italy one. France start as clear favourites for me.

      2. I’m not having a go at or getting down on Wales. Just made my opinion that I think there in a difficult situation at the moment with a lot of players (particularly injured players) and that France are much more the sort of team I expect to bounce back after a game like last week,

          1. wookie, you got the blast from the cumulative effect of all the rubbish I have read since Wales lost to Ireland. Sorry bout that. I take your point. Only a dumb Welsh optimist fan would predict a Welsh win this weekend – so I’m going for Wales by 7. 2005 all over again – out of it in the first half, triumphant comeback in the 2nd. We don’t like to do it the easy way.

      3. Brighty, your realism and unbiased approach are a joy to behold, as always.

        Just kidding, your rants are entertaining though, so keep them coming. Loving the change of picture by the way! Allez Pays de Galles.

        1. Jamie, I fear that sarcasm isn’t getting through to you when you read my comments. As I said “Only a dumb Welsh optimist fan would predict a Welsh win this weekend” i.e. me, I am that dumb optimist fan. I wouldn’t have survived the 90s if I wasn’t.

          Wales by 7
          England by 12
          Italy by 3

          1. PS. I don’t see the attraction in realism and impartiality when being a fan. Fine, if I was a journo in a paper or on this blog then impartiality would be essential. But as a fan I’m allowed (perhaps should even be encouraged) to talk up my team at every opportunity. This isn’t a technical debate, this is banter about something incredibly important to all of us. I pity the fan who can dispassionately assess his teams chances, predict a loss, and talk about it in the same way they’d talk about loft insulation. This is the six nations and as far as I am concerned Wales are going to win the rest of their games. Can’t wait till it happens.

          2. Haha I completely agree Brighty, don’t worry I wasn’t having a go – I fear it was my sarcasm that was lost on you there!

            Wales by 7 is a big shout though – if they win I think it’ll be a lot closer than that, not more than a score.

            Also, what’s not to love about a good loft insulation?!

      4. ‘Just shows that no matter what results some countries achieve others will be dying to see them fail again’

        Of course nobody rejoices when England lose do they?

        To be fair Brighty, I agree that you’ve got to take the average over time to judge a team, threfore Wales are playing below themselves at present and may have been a touch above themselves last year. Trouble is, 8 losses in a row is quite hard to argue with.

        Agree with you that France do seem to be treated as a special case which I have always thought slightly ridiculous. They can be awesome and they can be awful, which means over time, and for most of the past decade, they have been no better than average.

        1. “Of course nobody rejoices when England lose do they?” – only every country on the planet that isn’t England…

          1. Yeah, but that’s just arrogance …

            (I fear I need to spoil the quip by pointing out that it’s a joke but I know that there are enough sensitive and joyless souls out there to misinterpret it…).

  10. I’m a little out of touch at the moment but last time I checked Matthew Morgan was the future of the welsh number 10 shirt.

    Why not start the future now? No one else seems to be working.

  11. Even if warbs was fit i think he’d of missed out. Ryan Jones will have a different mindset drilled into his side but still gethin jenkins??? loyalty can only take you so far, i think this may be the case. Out of form and far from match fit, stupid!

  12. Biggars not a number 10 he is an excellent club player but gives the ball away too much at top level – put hook back until we have a better alternative

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