Beard returns as Wales face France in Six Nations finale
Coach recalls lock Adam Beard with Wales set to claim the Grand Slam if they win in Paris
Lock Adam Beard has been recalled to the starting line-up for title-chasing Wales in the only change for their final Six Nations meeting with France in Paris on Saturday, where the Grand Slam will be up for grabs.
Beard started the first three matches in the competition but was replaced by Aaron Wainwright for the 48-7 victory in Italy last weekend. The latter drops out of the squad altogether.
Scrumhalf Gareth Davies has kept his place with fit-again Tomos Williams on the bench, the first time in this year’s Six Nations that Wales have kept the same starting No 9.
Victory will ensure coach Wayne Pivac’s side are Six Nations champions, which would signal a stunning reversal of fortunes after a poor 2020 in which they lost seven of their 10 Tests.
“We are all looking forward to Saturday and to the finale of the Six Nations,” Pivac told the Welsh Rugby Union website. “We are four from four to date but know this weekend will be a great challenge against a very good French side, but we are looking forward to it.
“We know we need to step up from our previous performances and we want to end the tournament with a performance we know we are capable of.
“We have had great continuity in selection throughout the tournament and that is shown once again with the selection for Saturday.”
Flyhalf Dan Biggar will be alongside centres Jonathan Davies and George North, with Josh Adams, Louis Rees-Zammit and Liam Williams making up the back three. Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis are named again in the front-row of the scrum, with Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau at the back of the pack.
France coach Fabien Galthie has kept faith with his starting line-up a week after their last-gasp defeat by England.
Matthieu Jalibert will start again at flyhalf alongside Antoine Dupont after a sterling performance at Twickenham, where Les Bleus lost 23-20 after conceding a late try.
Romain Ntamack, Dupont’s usual partner, was back from injury last weekend but did not play and Jalibert’s display means he is chosen again for a game France must win to stay on course to secure the championship.
“We chose him for a simple reason, he was excellent against England,” Galthie told a news conference on Thursday. “He was solid, he kicked perfectly and performed well in the way he managed the game against very tough opposition.”
Wales will claim the Grand Slam if they prevail in Paris, while France must beat them, and Scotland in their rescheduled game, and grab at least a bonus point to win the title.
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