Gareth Davies returns to Wales No. 9 jersey for French test

Kieran Lewis News

Scarlets scrum-half Gareth Davies has been restored to the Wales starting XV for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with France at the Principality Stadium (4.45pm).

Davies comes in for Tomos Williams as one of two changes to the team beaten by Ireland in Dublin last time out.

The other change sees Ross Moriarty get the nod over Aaron Wainwright in the back row.

There are nine Scarlets in all in the match-day 23 with Davies joined by Leigh Halfpenny, Hadleigh Parkes, Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Jake Ball in the run-on side with Ryan Elias, Rob Evans and Johnny McNicholl on the bench.

Davies will line-up at half-back alongside Dan Biggar in the only change in the backline.  Parkes and Nick Tompkins partner in the midfield with Josh Adams, George North and Halfpenny comprising the back three.

Moriarty comes into the side at blindside flanker to set-up an all British & Irish Lions back-row.  Ball and captain Alun Wyn Jones continue in the second row with Wyn Jones, Owens and Dillon Lewis named in the front row.

“Gareth was unavailable round one and came off the bench last time out so he is full of energy and we are looking forward to him bringing his game on Saturday,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac. 

“Ross has impressed off the bench so far and brought a lot of energy and communication as well so he deserves an opportunity to start.

“We have changed around the second rows on the bench, we are looking at creating competition there and Will (Rowlands) has trained well and we are looking forward to seeing him out on that stage.

“We want to build on what we have done so far and are looking to be more accurate with what we do and improve on that aspect.

“Saturday is going to be a packed Principality Stadium, we know the atmosphere will be electric and it is set for a big day in Cardiff.”

On the bench Elias, Evans and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover with uncapped second row Rowlands and Wainwright completing the forward contingent.  Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans and McNicholl provide the backline cover.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY FRANCE (Saturday February 22 KO 16.45 BBC & S4C)

15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 George North, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones 2 Ken Owens, 3 Dillon Lewis, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 6 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Johnny McNicholl.