Six Nations: Nick Tompkins and George North dropped for Wales’ penultimate match against France

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Wales coach Warren Gatland has dropped centres Nick Tompkins and George North as part of four changes to the side that will face France in the Six Nations on Sunday.

Captain Dafydd Jenkins has been moved from the second row to flanker as a new centre partnership of Joe Roberts and Owen Watkin takes over North and Tompkins, who have 155 caps between them.

Sky Sports News understands that North and Tompkins were both fit for selection.

It will be Llanelli centre Roberts’ first Six Nations start after making his Test debut against England last summer in a World Cup warm-up match.

Elsewhere, Will Rowlands has been called up as Adam Beard’s second-row partner, while hooker Ryan Elias replaces Elliot Dee.

Jenkins, meanwhile, makes a first appearance in the number six shirt for club or country, and he takes over from Alex Mann.

Rowlands missed Wales’ opening Six Nations appointment with Scotland after his partner gave birth, and then featured off the bench in defeats to England and Ireland.

Mann is among the replacements, where his colleagues include fellow Cardiff forward Mackenzie Martin, Dee and Scarlets scrum-half Gareth Davies.

“There are a few changes to the team this week as there are some players that deserve an opportunity,” said Gatland.

“It will be a tough, physical challenge from France on Sunday, particularly up front. We know they will start hard, and it is about us staying in the fight, having good line speed defensively and keeping our discipline.

“We are looking for an 80-minute performance. We are excited to be back at home for our last two matches and looking
forward to getting out in front of a passionate Welsh crowd.”

Wales have lost the last four Six Nations games against France, but they tackle a struggling Les Bleus team that lost to Ireland and drew at home against Italy either side of narrowly beating Scotland.

However, Wales are yet to win in this season’s tournament ahead of their final two fixtures against France and Italy.

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Wales are yet to win in this year’s Six Nations

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Gareth Thomas, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Keiron Assiratti, 4 Will Rowlands, 5 Adam Beard, 6 Dafydd Jenkins (c), 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Alex Mann, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Mason Grady.

France name three debutants to face Wales

France head coach Fabien Galthie has called up full-back Leo Barre, centre Nicolas Depoortere and lock Emmanuel Meafou to make their Test debuts.

Barre takes over from Thomas Ramos, who moves to fly-half instead of an injured Matthieu Jalibert, with Depoortere replacing a suspended Jonathan Danty and Meafou preferred to Posolo Tuilagi.

alldritt
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Gregory Alldritt returns to captain France

Elsewhere, captain and No 8 Gregory Alldritt returns after injury, with other changes following a 13-13 draw with Italy seeing starts for wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey, scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec, hooker Julian Marchand and lock Thibaud Flament.

France have won their last four Six Nations games against Wales, but they are seeking only a second victory of this season’s tournament.

France: 15 Leo Barre, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Nicolas Depoortere, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Thomas Ramos, 9 Nolann Le Garrec; 1 Cyril Baille, 2 Julian Marchand, 3 Uini Atonio, 4 Thibaud Flament, 5 Emmanuel Meafou, 6 Francois Cros, 7 Charles Ollivon, 8 Gregory Aldritt (c).

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Georges-Henri Colombe, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Alexandre Roumat, 21 Paul Boudehent, 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Yoram Moefana.

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