Wales drop Mike Phillips for France
February 19, 2014
Mike Phillips will have to be content with a spot on the bench © PA Photos
Warren Gatland has sprung a selection surprise ahead of Friday's match against France with Rhys Webb preferred at scrum-half to Mike Phillips.
Webb's inclusion is one of three changes made to the side that lost heavily to ireland. Wales' injury crisis in the centres - Scott Williams, Jonathan Davies and Ashley Beck are unavailable - has led Gatland to shift George North to No.13 where he will partner Jamie Roberts. Liam Williams is named on the flank.
There is a further change in the pack, Luke Charteris comes in at lock alongside Alun-Wyn Jones.
"Friday is a massive game for us" Gatland said. "As a squad we have a huge amount of experience in this tournament and we will be calling on that this weekend. We see the game as a huge opportunity for us to put things right.
"Luke [Charteris] has been working really hard over the past couple of weeks and it's a big boost for us that he is back. I thought Rhys [Webb] played excellently for the Ospreys at the weekend and he comes in and gives us a different dimension and it's a great opportunity for him.
"George [North] moves into the midfield and he brings great footwork to the role and we were impressed when he went there against Australia in the autumn. His partnership with Jamie will be important as we look to stop the directness of France and Mathieu Bastareaud."
Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Rhys Priestland, Rhys Webb; Gethin Jenkins, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (captain), Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric, Mike Phillips, Dan Biggar, James Hook
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