Wales team to play France on Friday night

Warren Gatland has named his side to take on France at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, and here it is.

Mike Phillips has returned to the squad, with Richie Rees starting at scrum-half. The front five looks a little inexperienced, and could have a tough time against the French.

Wales team:
15. Lee Byrne
14. Leigh Halfpenny
13. James Hook
12. Jamie Roberts
11. Shane Williams
10. Stephen Jones
9. Richie Rees

1. Paul James
2. Huw Bennett
3. Adam Jones
4. Bradley Davies
5. Deiniol Jones
6. Jonathan Thomas
7. Martyn Williams
8. Ryan Jones (c)

Ken Owens
Rhys Gill
Luke Charteris
Sam Warburton
Mike Phillips
Andrew Bishop
Tom Shanklin

9 thoughts on “Wales team to play France on Friday night

  1. The Hook Roberts combination just doesn’t work; Hook is not a natural centre and Roberts still lacks footballing skills. I understand that Gatland wants to “blood” some young players for the World Cup, but he also has to pick strength in the centre positions NOW.

    The 6 Nations is a very important tournament. France have shown how tough they are and we need to be able to break the French defensive line. Its no good just blaming the pack for not providing the opportunity to go forward.

  2. Where would you put Hook, Peter? I do think Wales need him in the team, and centre seems like the most sensible position for him.

    Roberts is surely a must-have player as well, so perhaps it’s just a case of giving them time to work out how to play together?

  3. As you mention footballing skills I would play Lee Byrne wherever his natural ability to take a dive is most effective. He could probably get in more trips/dives as a stand off.

  4. Hi Hutch, Hook is a creative player but we need to get the structure right in the centre. I would play Shanklin at outside centre and bring Hook on when, and if, we have some control in the game. The Hook/Roberts team just don’t work, at the moment.

    Surely the summer tour is the place for trying out things. We don’t want to look “fools” during the 6 Nations. Roberts is a great potential and he showed what he could do next to O’Driscoll but he hasn’t been able to play as well since the Lion’s tour.

    Let’s win some games and go plan for the World Cup during the summer. We seem to have gone backwards in our ability to win. The last two games have shown us to be second best, at best.

  5. I understand the comparison with Lee Byrne and football and he did seem to go down very easily, but there was contact. I’ll put my trust in Byrne’s desire to score and not throwing away for, at best, three points, even though we did score later.

  6. Hi Hutch, You might be right about Roberts/Shanklin but I think Shanklin is better able to break the French line, so I would go for that – he is finally playing well again after his time-off with injury. Gatland needs to be brave and not put everything into the World Cup, which I think he is doing.

    10 is Hook’s preferred position and rumour has it that he may go to France to achieve that. But, at the moment, Stephen Jones is overall playing well enough to keep the shirt. But it could be a tactical call during the game. In fact, when I think about it, Hook is playing like a number 10, even though he has a 13 number on his back.

  7. Hook coming off the bench might well be a good option. However, Wales have suffered from a lack of quick ball in the same way that England do. If the backs had some better ball, they would have more options – the last 5 minutes against Scotland showed what they could do when they recycle quickly and look to run.

    The France game will be very interesting…I think the front five will be a bigger issue than Hook or Roberts.

  8. My comment on Lee Byrne was not serious, I wish Wales luck on Friday but I am still hurting from the taking of defeat from the mouth of victory.

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