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George North returns as Wales make four changes for France meeting

Warren Gatland has left Alex Cuthbert and Jake Ball out of his match day squad.

North is back in the Wales starting XV.
North is back in the Wales starting XV.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WARREN GATLAND HAS made four changes to his Wales team ahead of Saturday’s clash with France in the Six Nations [KO 16.00 Irish time].

George North, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris and Scott Baldwin all come into the starting XV for the fixture at Stade de France in Paris.

North missed the round two win over Scotland after suffering a controversial head injury against England on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, but has recovered to take his place on the right wing.

Liam Williams is retained on the left wing, meaning Alex Cuthbert drops out of the match day squad. The backline is unchanged otherwise.

Racing Métro’s Charteris joins Alun-Wyn Jones in the second row, while the inclusion of Wasps’ Bradley Davies as the back-up lock sees Jake Ball dropped from the 23 after starting against England and Scotland.

Gloucester’s Richard Hibbard is moved to the bench to accommodate Baldwin at hooker, while the fit-again Lee replaces Aaron Jarvis at tighthead prop.

“We have made some tough calls and there were some tight decisions but it is a very strong team we are putting out,” said Gatland.

“We have a lot of strength in depth at second-row, it is a chance for Luke Charteris to get a start and we have been impressed with Bradley Davies as well. It is nothing against Jake but we have a lot of strength in depth and it’s an opportunity to see the other two.

Rob Harley and Liam Williams Williams retains his spot in the back three to face France. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It’s a chance for Scott Baldwin to start as well, the last time he started he went well in the victory over South Africa. It is great to have Samson back available and it was a tough call in the back-three but we have decided to go with Liam and George.

“We felt we improved against Scotland and we are looking for another improvement this weekend. It’s a tough competition to go on the road and ask for that but that is what we are looking for.”

Wales (v France)

15. Leigh Halfpenny
14. George North
13. Jonathan Davies
12. Jamie Roberts
11. Liam Williams
10. Dan Biggar
9. Rhys Webb

1. Gethin Jenkins
2. Scott Baldwin
3. Samson Lee
4. Luke Charteris
5. Alun-Wyn Jones
6. Dan Lydiate
7. Sam Warburton (capt.)
8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements:

16. Richard Hibbard
17. Paul James
18. Aaron Jarvis
19. Bradley Davies
20. Justin Tipuric
21. Mike Phillips
22. Rhys Priestland
23. Scott Williams

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Murray Kinsella

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