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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 25 April, 2018

Milestone game for Owens as Howley keeps faith with side that defeated Ireland

Wales have named an unchanged starting 15 for the third successive game.

Image: David Davies

WALES BOSS ROB Howley has kept faith with the starting XV that saw off Ireland 22-9 last Friday night for their final Six Nations game of the campaign, against France in Paris on Saturday [2.45pm, RTÉ2].

The former international scrum-half, who is currently in charge as Warren Gatland prepares to lead the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand later this year, has selected an unchanged side for the third successive game.

It will be a particularly special occasion for Ken Owens as the Scarlets hooker will win his 50th international cap when he runs out at the Stade de France.

Howley has in fact named an unchanged match-day 23 for their Six Nations finale which gives them an opportunity to finish their campaign with more wins than losses.

Owens, who made his international debut at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, lines up alongside Rob Evans and Tomas Francis in the front row.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones and Jake Ball are named in the second row with Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty completing the pack.

Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar are named at half-back with Scarlets duo Scott Williams and Jonathan Davies combining once again in midfield.

Liam Williams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny again comprise the back three.

Taulupe Faletau, Luke Charteris, and Jamie Roberts are once again included on a strong replacements’ bench.

“I was delighted for the players at Friday’s result and performance and they deserve the opportunity to build on that in our final RBS 6 Nations encounter,” Howley said.

“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.

“We put pressure on ourselves and turned that pressure into a result. 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.”

Wales are currently in fourth place on the table on nine points after victories against Ireland and Italy, and defeats to England and Scotland.

France are just one point ahead of them thanks to their losing bonus point against England and four-try bonus point against Italy, while Wales’ sole bonus point to date came in a 21-16 defeat to England.

Wales (v France):

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
6. Sam Warburton
7. Justin Tipuric
8. Ross Moriarty

16. Scott Baldwin
17. Nicky Smith
18. Samson Lee
19. Luke Charteris
20. Taulupe Faletau
21. Gareth Davies
22. Sam Davies
23. Jamie Roberts

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Alan Waldron

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