Wales v France preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Six Nations clash
Wales host France in the RBS Six Nations on Friday evening: 20:05 kick-off
Winger Alex Cuthbert replaces Tom James in one of three Wales changes to the starting XV
Djibril Camara makes his debut in one of five changes for France
Les Bleus have lost on their last four trips to the Principality Stadium – this includes two games in the 2015 World Cup
It’s been four years since France last beat Wales and just to add fuel to the fire Warren Gatland has spent this week taking pot shots at the Top 14.
The Wales head coach made a couple of intriguing changes for this one, with Alex Cuthbert coming in for fellow Cardiff winger Tom James, while Dan Lydiate replaces Justin Tipuric in the back row.
Meanwhile, winger Djibril Camara makes his debut as one of five changes by Guy Novès for the away side, who have won their two opening matches in Paris against Italy and Ireland.
Scrum-half Maxime Machenaud, flanker Antoine Burban, lock Paul Jedrasiak and prop Rabah Slimani are the other four fresh faces for Les Bleus.
Wales have won their last four Tests against France. This is their best run since they won six in succession between 1952-1957
France’s last win over Wales came in the World Cup semi-final in 2011. They won 9-8 as Wales had Sam Warburton sent off
Brice Dulin’s try in last year’s encounter was the first France had scored against Wales since their 28-9 win in the Six Nations in 2011
Wales are unbeaten in their last six Six Nations games (W5 D1), their best run since winning eight in a row between 2007-09
They are targeting a fourth title since head coach Warren Gatland took charge in 2008
France have won three Six Nations matches in a single tournament once in the last four years (2014).
They have lost on their last four trips to the Principality Stadium – this includes two games in the 2015 World Cup against Ireland and New Zealand.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wales: Alun Wyn Jones
Our personal choice to lead the Lions in 2017, Wyn Jones has been outstanding for Ospreys since returning to domestic duty following the Rugby World Cup. With his constant hard work, pinpoint passing and technical know-how at the set-piece he is a cornerstone of the Wales team. The term world-class is labelled on players far too much, but with Jones, it seems appropriate.
France: Rabah Slimani
Slimani, who has established himself as a regular since making his debut in 2013, it’s an exciting new era where he has an opportunity to help France re-establish themselves as one of the top sides in Europe. Following the retirements of a few major players, it’s time for the prop to stand up and lead Les Bleus from the front.
2015: Wales won 20-13 in Paris
2014: Wales won 27-6 in Cardiff
2013: Wales won 16-6 in Paris
2012: Wales won 16-9 in Cardiff
2011: France won 9-8 in Auckland
2011: France won 28-9 in Paris
2010: France won 26-20 in Cardiff
2009: France won 21-16 in Paris
2008: Wales won 29-12 in Cardiff
2007: France won 34-7 in Cardiff
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Gareth Anscombe
France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Virimi Vakatawa, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Djibril Camara, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Antoine Burban, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Vincent Pelo, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Sébastien Bézy, 22 François Trinh-Duc, 23 Gaël Fickou
Date: Friday, February 26
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (RFU), Luke Pearce (RFU)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU)