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Alex Cuthbert returns as Wales change three for France clash

Cardiff Blues wing Alex Cuthbert will start for Wales in their Six Nations clash against France on Friday, but lock Luke Charteris misses out because of a knee injury.

Cuthbert replaces Tom James on the wing and is one of three changes to Warren Gatland's starting XV for the crucial Six Nations meeting at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Bradley Davies comes in for the injured Charteris to partner Alun Wyn Jones in the second row, while Dan Lydiate also joins the pack at blindside flanker, with skipper Sam Warburton moving to the openside berth.

Flanker Justin Tipuric drops to the bench, with Jake Ball the only other new face among the replacements as Wales look to follow up their victory over Scotland a fortnight ago.

"We have made a couple of changes, one injury enforced with Luke [Charteris] missing out with a knee injury, but Bradley [Davies] deserves a starting spot as well so it's a good opportunity for him," said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

"We have made two other personnel changes with Alex [Cuthbert] and Dan [Lydiate] coming into the starting team. They have trained well and will suit the game France will potentially bring as well.

"We initially thought we would have to wait until later in the week to have a final update on injuries, but we know where we are earlier than expected and have told the squad today, hence announcing today as well.

"It's set to be another huge Six Nations weekend, France come to Cardiff unbeaten in the campaign so far and impressing under Guy [Noves]. We are looking to continue our unbeaten run and will be looking for another step up after the victory over Scotland."

Wales (to play France):

Liam Williams, Cuthbert, J Davies, Roberts, North, Biggar G Davies; R Evans, Baldwin, Lee, B Davies, Jones, Lydiate, Warburton (c), Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Owens, Jenkins, Francis, Ball, Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, Priestland, Anscombe