Wales attempt to stop the rot in Paris

Updated: February 8, 2013

Defending 6 Nations champions Wales travel to Paris this weekend in a must win game against the French if they want to avoid a ninth successive defeat. Both teams suffered opening match defeats, the French losing 23-18 to Italy and the Welsh losing 30-22 to Ireland in Cardiff.

France began their encounter last week as one of the favourites following a superb Autumn International series that reaped 4 victories and some encouraging signs that coach Philippe Saint-Andre had finally manged to add consistency to the French game go to go with their devastating flair. Last Sunday in Rome, Italy showed that he still has plenty more to do as they outplayed their opponents in all departments in one of the best Italian rugby performances in their history.

Lock Jocelino Suta wins his fourth cap as he comes in for the injured Pascal Pape  who is replaced as captain by former skipper Thierry Dusautoir  while giant centre Mathieu Bastareaud makes his first start in 3 years is preferred to Florian Fritz.

For Wales, captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out injured, a big loss. He will be replaced by Ryan Jones who will also lead the side for a record 30th time.  Richard Hibbard comes in at hooker for Matthew Rees while Justin Tipuric who impressed last week replaces Aaron Shingler.

France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles , 7 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Damian Chouly, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Florian Fritz.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones (captain), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Scott Williams.