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Warburton out of French clash

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 14:58
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50-up for Roberts
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Wales captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out of the Six Nations clash with France on Saturday with a 'stinger' injury.

Openside flank Warburton suffered the blow, which normally affects the shoulder, in last week's 30-22 first-round defeat by Ireland in Cardiff that dented Grand Slam champions Wales' hopes of a successful title defence.

Ryan Jones was named as captain in a team announced by Wales interim head coach Rob Howley on Thursday.

Former full-time skipper Jones, set to lead Wales for a record 30th time at Paris's Stade de France, came in at blindside flank in place of Aaron Shingler, with openside Justin Tipuric filling in for Warburton on the other side of the back row.

The only other change to the starting XV saw Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard, fit again following injury, replace Matthew Rees.

In the backs, centre Jamie Roberts is poised to win his 50th cap, while Shingler has taken Tipuric's bench place with Lou Reed joining him among the replacements instead of Olly Kohn.

"We didn't start the tournament the way we wanted to on the weekend but Saturday is a chance for us to go out and show what we can do," Howley said Thursday after naming his team.

"We know that we will have to start well and start the way we finished the game against Ireland," the former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrumhalf added.

"It's disappointing to have Sam ruled out but Ryan comes in as captain with a wealth of experience.

"Playing France in Paris is always a huge match but we have worked hard as a squad this week and want to deliver a performance we know we are capable of."

Wales - who have enjoyed just three away wins against France since 1975 - are currently on an eight-match losing streak and have not beaten another Test-playing nation for nearly a year.

Pre-tournament favourites France will also be looking to return to winning ways after a shock 23-18 loss to Italy in Rome on Sunday.

They too will be without their captain last week after lock Pascal Pape was ruled out through injury.

Toulouse flank Thierry Dusautoir, losing finalists France's skipper at the 2011 World Cup, has been restored to the captaincy with Toulon's Jocelino Suta taking Pape's place in the second row.

Meanwhile, Suta's club mate Mathieu Bastareaud has been given a start in the centres by France coach Philippe Saint-Andre in place of 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.

Date: Saturday, February 9
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 17.00 GMT
Referee: George Clancy

AFP

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