Ken Owens leads Wales into Paris finale

Rob LloydNewyddion

Ken Owens will captain Wales in their Guinness Six Nations finale against France in Paris on Saturday (2.45pm), hoping to end a challenging campaign on a high.

The experienced Scarlets hooker has been an ever-present throughout the Championship, leading Wales from the front.

He is joined again in the starting XV by Scarlets team-mate Wyn Jones in a side showing six changes from last weekend’s much-needed win over Italy in Rome.

With an injury to Liam Williams forcing a reshuffle in the back three, Leigh Halfpenny returns to the squad and is named among the replacements. Halfpenny will win his 99th Wales cap if he takes the field at the Stade de France.

Behind the scrum, Dan Biggar, George North, Nick Tompkins and Louis Rees-Zammit are recalled to the run-on side, while Alun Wyn Jones and Dragons back-rower Aaron Wainwright get the nod up front. Jac Morgan has been ruled out with an ankle injury picked up in training.

Head coach Warren Gatland said: “Last weekend was really important for us getting a win in the Six Nations and building a bit of confidence. It was a step in the right direction but there’s still lots for us to work on.

“We’ve worked hard on a few things in terms of tidying some of the defensive lapses that we’ve made and getting some of those things right. We’re still working hard on our attack. 

“I think France last weekend put in probably one of the best performances seen in a long, long time. They’re the number two team in the world. They bring a really physical approach to the way they play and they’ve tended to start well. 

“So that’s the important thing. We’ve got to go out there and start well, make sure we’re in that arm wrestle with them and give ourselves that opportunity. 

“They’re a team that kick the ball a lot, so we’ve also got to make sure that our backfield is right and we’ve got to be good in the air.”

Wales senior men’s XV to play France in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 18 March KO 2.45pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C

15 Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester); 14 Josh Adams (Cardiff), 13 George North (Ospreys), 12 Nick Tompkins (Saracens), 11 Rio Dyer (Dragons); 10 Dan Biggar (Toulon), 9 Rhys Webb (Ospreys); 1 Wyn Jones (Scarlets), 2 Ken Owens (Scarlets, capt), 3 Tomas Francis (Ospreys), 4 Adam Beard (Ospreys), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), 6 Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), 7 Justin Tiputic (Ospreys), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff).

Reps: 16 Bradley Roberts (Dragons), 17 Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), 18 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff), 19 Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), 20 Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), 21 Tomos Williams (Cardiff), 22 Owen Williams (Ospreys), 23 Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets).