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Six Nations: Teenage star North handed Welsh chance

By Andrew Baldock

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made two enforced changes for tomorrow's RBS 6 Nations finale against France in Paris.

Teenage wing George North will make his Six Nations debut as replacement for knee injury victim Shane Williams, while Ospreys prop Adam Jones returns to the pack.

Jones, who has played just 20 minutes' rugby since suffering an elbow injury in mid-January, takes over from his Ospreys colleague Craig Mitchell.

Mitchell is unlikely to play again this season after dislocating his shoulder during Wales' 19-13 victory over Ireland at the Millennium Stadium last weekend.

Gatland has otherwise retained the side that accounted for Ireland, with North on the left-wing in a back three that also comprises Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny.

North, 19 next month, scored two tries on his Test debut against world champions South Africa in November, and played against Fiji and New Zealand before suffering a shoulder injury and being sidelined for three months.

Wales still have an outside chance of winning the Six Nations title, but they would need to beat France by 20-plus points and hope Grand Slam-chasing England suffer a similarly sized defeat against Ireland in Dublin.

“We are going into the final round of the Championship in second place and still with a shot at the title,” said Gatland.

“That's pleasing, but it is not good enough yet, we need to finish the job and win in France.

“That is the only element of this weekend we can control and it is vitally important that we maintain our focus on what will be one of the toughest challenges of this campaign.”

Wales: L Byrne (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), G North (Scarlets); J Hook (Ospreys), M Phillips (Ospreys); P James (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets, capt), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys).

Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), R McCusker (Scarlets), D Peel (Sale Sharks), S Jones (Scarlets), M Stoddart (Scarlets).

Belfast Telegraph


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