Wales team to face France

Warren Gatland has named the team that he’ll take to Paris on Friday to face France.

The prolific Shane Williams returns on the wing, whilst Gavin Henson (prolific in a different way) takes a seat on the bench.

Unbeaten so far in the 2009 championship, Wales will face a difficult task in the Stade de France – are these the right people to keep the Grand Slam hopes alive?

Wales: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Michael Phillips, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Ryan Jones (captain), 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 John Yapp, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Dafydd Jones, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 James Hook, 22 Gavin Henson.

4 thoughts on “Wales team to face France

  1. The team is starting to pick itself to a large extent which is always a good sign.

    Shane was always going to walk back in of course.

    Only points of debate might be whether Jonathon Thomas had earned a place on the bench after a good return with the Ospreys . His opposition for this is Dafydd Jones who did well stepping into the breach against Scotland and also Charteris as Thomas can cover second row , however Gatland has stuck with a specialist in this department and again Charteris did ok against the Scots. Gatland usually is loyal if you perform for him -see the second point though.

    Second point of debate Henson on bench , he’s not played since Christmas and overall has had precious little game time at centre this year with injuries , being played at full back and of course his sulk after the Harlequins EDF game which cost him valuable game time in Europe through internal suspension. There is his little escapade of last week as well. Bishop the one who has to drop out might well feel aggrieved if he was that way inclined -which by personality he’s not.

    Gatland rewards performance with loyalty then but is consistent in his inconsistency in this policy towards Henson in that he appears to class Henson in nearly the same class as Shane (well not quite or he’d be starting).He’s certainly massaged Gavins ego enough times with public pronouncements and has obviously had the benefit of seeing the apparant sparks that Henson and Jamie Roberts have struck off each other in training . Expect Henson to come on if the game needs to be broken up and taken by Wales in the last 20 mins i.e a small French lead or if Wales are out of sight (less likely perhaps) if it’s tight in our favour and we need to defend then more unlikely.

    If it works expect Henson to start against Italy. Personally I’m with Clive Woodward (there’s a first ) on this one as regards the qualities of Shankilin above Henson – but if we win I’m there to be persuaded.

  2. Pontylad:

    I agree gav has not had much time but he really does now have to step up to the plate, i firmly believe that gav and shanklin can or where the best centre pair around they just need to get that back he is a good kicker very rugby brained and is a good tackler. i think he needs to realises he needs to stop having so many chances.

    As for shane yes he was always going o walk back in but he not got long left now as for him being he best winger in the world we need to learn or at least start learning to play without him. i really didnt think it would show how much we missed him against england but is was batent

  3. Jburg replacing Shane will not be easy of course simply because he is unique , England have struggled similarily once Jason Robinson went -similar to Shane in many respects . Shane scored one and had a part in making the other three tries against the Scots.Halfpenny has started his career better than could be reasonably expected of course and I have great hopes there but lets not pile on the pressure too early as we are wont to to do.

    Interesting article today in the Western Mail (Wales on LIne on the web ) about Shanklin and his crocked knee which he limps around on for 2 days after every game , I know he was offered a pay off by insurers as his career was thought to be ended by this injury in the last Lions tour , against initial medical advice he’s stuck with it for his country and region at aged 29 lets hope he doesn’t pay for it in his later years.

    THe subtext is Gavs dropping out with what appear to be multiple niggling type injuries and the contrast of course -possibly not fair but its starting to be the public perception.

  4. thats very interesting.

    I dont disagree about shane but our strength and debth can now start to be developed with a strong starting line up not needed to be chopped and changed

    As for henson he really does need to start sorting it out i rate him very much but, he cant be remebered for one amazing england game for the rest of his life can he

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