March 15, 2017 / 10:58 AM / 10 months ago

Rugby-Same again for Howley as Wales unchanged for France

March 15 (Reuters) - Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley has resisted the temptation for experimentation and selected an unchanged line-up for his side’s final Six Nations clash with France in Paris on Saturday.

The selection means a 50th cap for hooker Ken Owens as Howley rewards the players who claimed a comprehensive 22-9 victory over Ireland in Cardiff last Friday.

“I was delighted for the players at Friday’s result and performance, and they deserve the opportunity to build on that in our final Six Nations encounter,” Howley said in a statement released by the Welsh Rugby Union on Wednesday.

”The experience we showed and the intensity we brought to the match was hugely important and that will be just as important as we face a good France team at home.

“The players who took to the field at Principality Stadium deserve the opportunity to start and we were pleased with the impact from the bench so will be looking for the same this weekend.”

The lack of changes means wings Liam Williams and George North, and fullback Leigh Halfpenny, continue as a back three, with Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar the half-back pairing.

Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty make up the loose-forward trio, with Owens taking his position between props Rob Evans and Tomas Francis.

The side will be captained by lock Alun Wyn Jones.

“For us there are areas of the game we want to work on from Ireland and we have an opportunity to do that on Saturday and finish the campaign with another quality performance,” Howley said.

Wales have won on their last two visits to Paris and will claim second spot in the Championship with a victory again, as well as a win for England over Ireland in Dublin.

Wales team:

15-Leigh Halfpenny; 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Scott Williams, 11-Liam Williams; 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Rhys Webb; 1-Rob Evans, 2-Ken Owens, 3-Tomas Francis, 4-Jake Ball, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 6-Sam Warburton, 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: 16-Scott Baldwin, 17-Nicky Smith, 18-Samson Lee, 19-Luke Charteris, 20-Taulupe Faletau, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Sam Davies, 23-Jamie Roberts. (Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by John O‘Brien)

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