Six Nations 2014: Wales team to play France

George North

Warren Gatland has selected the Wales side to face France on Friday night at the Millennium Stadium.

Mike Phillips has been dropped in favour of debutant Rhys Webb, whilst George North lines up in the centre opposite Mathieu Bastereaud, which makes for a fairly sizeable match-up.

Can Wales bounce back from defeat in Ireland to derail France’s Grand Slam ambitions?

Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues)
Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues)
George North (Northampton Saints)
Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro)
Liam Williams (Scarlets)
Rhys Priestland (Scarlets)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys)

Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)
Richard Hibbard (Ospreys)
Adam Jones (Ospreys)
Luke Charteris (Perpignan)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)
Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro)
Sam Warburton (CAPT – Cardiff Blues)
Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements:
Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan).

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

32 thoughts on “Six Nations 2014: Wales team to play France

  1. Doesn’t really matter what team they put out ….. With Rolland as referee vs France they can forget it, disgraceful decision.
    Just can’t fancy Wales for this one, too many players missing in key positions & some of those who are playing just don’t seem to be fully fit, but they are down to the bare bones & don’t have the quality in depth to replace them. Great shame that JD is still not ready, he could well have made the difference, good to see Webb get the start, he was outstanding for the Ospreys last weekend, just hope he can step up to the mark against higher level opposition.

  2. Didn’t realise Rolland was the ref for this one! OH DEAR!!!! North vs Basteraud should be very interesting.
    Hope it’s not going to be too confusing for the forwards/backs when trying to communicate to Rhys or Rhys?! Does either player have a nickname they use on the pitch?

  3. I don’t understand the halfback pairing.

    If you’re picking Webb (who I don’t think has been in spectacular form this season) ahead of Phillips (who has also been pretty poor), then why not pick Biggar with him? The pair have just come off the back of pummelling an admittedly poor Treviso side 75-7 so confidence is bound to be up for the pair of them.

    Priestland, again, is putting in performances of a man who is looking all consumed by the fear of failure.

    I just think this was an opportunity to ‘cash in’ on a pair of team mates high on confidence, who haven’t really played any part in the abject Welsh performances so far during this campaign.

    1. absolutely spot on, Rhys and Rhys is worst of both picks in my opinion. Phillips is losing it and continuously getting wrapped up taking steps at the back of a ruck. I would have gone for Webb and Biggar personally but if he really wanted Priestland and youth and inexperience why not Rhodri Williams?

    2. I agree entirely on the Biggar point Anarky . Some players seem to get endless chances others cack something up once and get sent to the wildereness or stuck on the bench for 80 mins which is about the same thing .

      Assuming our forwards turn up there is at least a chance of Webb getting some quicker ball out .Basteraud and Fofana look a more balanced pairing than North /Roberts factor in Rolland and I’m not holding ny breath on this one .

  4. Every time I have seen Rhys Webb play he has looked really good, although I have heard some negativity about him so not too sure.

    Phillips has played well once (against England at the Millennium last year), in about two years. He’s been woeful got Wales, and even worse for the Lions. It’s about time he’s been dropped. Awful attitude not even being backed up by playing well.

  5. I was all for Rhodri Williams being fast-tracked but I’ve seen him play very badly for the Scarlets recently, particularly off his weak hand.

    I don’t agree with a lot of he crticism of Priestland, but Biggar is in better form and has an understanding with Webb. Maybe they just didn’t want to change too much?

    We don’t do well on Friday nights, I can’t see that changing this week.

  6. Should have been more changes for me. Lydiate gave too many penalties away against Ireland, Gethin Jenkins looks to be struggling with injury and Priestland plays too much aerial tennis. Wales side wants to look at the Ospreys game against Treviso and what can be done with ball in hand.Totally entertaining rugby and not a penalty kick at goal all game.

  7. I’m a big Phillips fan but I think he needed to be taken out. Give someone quicker a go. Try and release roberts and north since you’ve got them both there. Maybe just bypass Priestland entirely.

    Would’ve like to have seen Tipuric in (and a return for Ryan Jones but that’s just a personal thing).

    Best of a bad situation really but I still don’t fancy their chances.

  8. Personally I don’t like North in the centre, I would have preferred more of a ball player – James Hook in fact – but apart from Hook, I am not sure what Wales have available in this respect.

    I have no view on Liam Williams, but would really liked to have seen the younger Williams (Jordan?) playing.

  9. Dan bigger should have started the 6 nations the form he was on before hand, james hook should be center instead of north. boys got to pull this 1 outta the bag

  10. A mixed bag, I doubt Gats would field unfit props 2 games on the trot, hopefully the two weeks has been good to Jenkins and Jones.
    Also would have went for Warburton and Tipuric at 6/7, Lydiate is out of sorts and Tipuric seems the best match up Wales have to try and stop Nyanga from rampaging to victory.
    Glad Phillips has been dropped, but don’t see what Priestland offers over Biggar apart from continuity…

    North vs Bastareaud? Tuilagi put him on his derrière last year in a much overhyped showdown that “should have seen seatbelts installed at Twickenham”.
    You don’t need a genius to tell you that muscle trumps fat on a rugby pitch and North is just a few kilograms lighter than Tuilagi so he should win this sub plot nearly as easily as Manu did. I’d be more worried about having an out of position player defending against the magician Fofana than about said player running into Mr. Blobby.

    1. You are right Tom, Bastareaud is quite overhyped. He doesn’t even play the role of battering ram very well so far in the 6N. I’ve seen him kicking balls (DUDE WHY?), or slowing down for the hit, which negates all his reason for him being in the squad all together. I dont really see any problems for North to keep him in check, he’s a good tackler after all. And the big blob isn’t a star in offloading so getting him to ground is enough.
      But Fofana could pose all sorts of trouble, and you Welsh should be praying that Bastareaud’s small injury he picked up this weekend at Toulon, doesn’t worsen. I’d hate to be playing against a pairing of Fofana – Fickou. Could be all kinds of awesome ;)

  11. Think a real issue here is certain players still being kept in because of reputation above of form. Arguably Wales best forward vs Ireland Coombs has been dropped from the 23 altogether. Lydiate still in too boggles as he’s been poor so far, giving away far too many penalties.

    My Welsh girlfriend was absolutely distraught when she saw this lineup!

  12. Don`t agree with the choice of halfbacks. Biggar surely had to be included at Priestland expense. I having nothing against Webb but does anyone agree with me and think Gareth Davies at the Scarlets is the best scrum half in Wales over the past two seasons? I very rarely see him have a bad game. Is it a case of Gatland not being a fan?
    A friend said that he thinks Gethin Jenkins is drinking at the last chance saloon. He has been carrying injuries which effects his ability at the breakdown and around the pitch. Whilst his impact at scrum time has always been suspect.
    Adam Jones I believe has to be given game time at the Ospreys to get to gribs with the new scrummaging laws.

  13. Nathan, I actually agree about Gareth Davies. I would be willing to bet that, if fit, he’ll be in the next Wales WC squad – wait and see!! However, I do hate the constant criticism of Mike Phillips. For heavens sake, the guy has been the starting Lions scrum-half for five of the last six tests, he’s a fabulous player, feared by others, possibly – possibly – past his very best now, but still a huge weapon if used correctly. Why all the negativity? You’d think he was the worst in the world!

    1. Phillips was a fantastic player in 2009, and fully deserves to start all three tests.

      The issue is he hasn’t played that well since the 2012 6Ns. He started two tests last Lions tour on reputation alone, and was woeful in both.

      He has become ponderous on the ball, and angry when he doesn’t get his own way. His distribution is poor, kicking not great, and his decision making is now going wayward as he isn’t getting his own way. Not really sure how the criticisms of him can be viewed as anything other than accurate.

  14. Biggar should start and Hook to replace in the second half if things aren’t going to plan. Same old Wales trying the same plan over and over. You’d think they’d change things up in the second half against Ireland but we all saw what happened. Hook is a game changer and Tipuric should have come on a lot earlier. Regardless I look forward to seeing us Welsh dust ourselves off and being competitive on Friday.
    Enjoy the match.

  15. Alain Rolland referee for this match… just as bad as having Wayne Barnes to be honest. Wonder what the reason for a red card he’s going to start dishing out this time.

  16. Lots of comments about Alain Rolland.

    Is this negativity still around because of his sending off of Warburton?

    I rarely recall seeing him have a bad game. Which is not the same as making the odd error of course.

  17. Re John Hole’s message, I was fortunate to watch a replay of the Wales/France world cup game in Dubai after watching the BBC version live. Interestingly enough as Sam Warburton commited the offence the Kiwi commentator immediately shouted ‘ That’s a red card offence!’ He was neither Welsh or French, like myself and countless other people I know from the Southern hemisphere who all agree that Sam Warburton deserved a red card without a doubt!!! I urge you to watch an unbiased replay and I also urge you to get over it. It was not Alain Rolland or the French, the red card should be owned by the perpetrator Sam Warburton. I am sure that Alain Rolland will ref fairly tomorrow as he always has. Tell your boys not to tackle dangerously if you want to keep everyone on the field.

    1. “Tell your boys not to tackle dangerously if you want to keep everyone on the field.”

      …..and keep Mike Phillips on the bench?

    2. Hmmm. Thanks Nikki, for your advice.

      I really don’t know where to start with this.

      “I was fortunate to watch a replay of the Wales/France world cup game in Dubai after watching the BBC version live” – What’s your point? That originally you thought the red card was harsh when watching it live on ITV?

      “Interestingly enough as Sam Warburton committed the offence the Kiwi commentator immediately shouted ‘ That’s a red card offence!’ He was neither Welsh or French, like myself and countless other people I know from the Southern hemisphere who all agree that Sam Warburton deserved a red card without a doubt!!!” – Again, what’s your point? That only SH commentators/viewers were able to see that it was a red card offence? I think you’ll find many in the NH also agree that it was red card. I’d also suggest that there were people from both the North & Southern hemispheres who perhaps thought that it was a tough call – especially when you consider the precedent that had been set in earlier games.

      “I urge you to watch an unbiased replay and I also urge you to get over it.” – I think the sane ones amongst us, accept that the red card was deserved given the current laws of the game. I think the attitude displayed by some towards Rolland is due to the fact that law wasn’t applied consistently throughout the rest of the tournament, not that that was Rollands fault of course. I assume you, the Kiwi commentators and all your SH chums exclaimed “red card!!!!” for the other tip tackles in the tournament (Fra v Tonga) and one of the Fijian games??

      “It was not Alain Rolland or the French, the red card should be owned by the perpetrator Sam Warburton” – Are you implying that he didn’t take responsibility for his actions? Sam Warburton has never complained about receiving the red card and came out in support of Rolland.

      “Tell your boys not to tackle dangerously if you want to keep everyone on the field.” – Thanks for the tip.

      1. One thing is very clear from the Warburton Red Card issue; He accepted full responsibility for his actions and has moved on, put it behind him.

        A good man, setting a fine example to his countrymen, and rugby people everywhere.

  18. It pains me to watch, we{Wales} have not been playing well
    As for the referee words fail me on my view of him
    I predict 10 mins of gallantry and then a very conclusive defeat

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