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North and Jones start for Wales

Guinness PRO12 Editor

17 Mar 2011


Scarlets wing George North and Ospreys prop Adam Jones have both been called into the Wales squad to face France on Saturday.

Eighteen year-old North has impressed for the Welsh region on his return from injury and replaces Shane Williams on the left wing who is ruled out with a knee injury.

Up-front British & Irish Lion Jones has himself recovered from a elbow injury which ruled him out of the first four RBS 6 Nations games to replace Craig Mitchell at tight-head who underwent surgery on a dislocated shoulder earlier this week.

Wales go into the clash with the current Grand Slam Champions with an outside chance of lifting the Six Nations title, but will need Ireland to beat England in Dublin.

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

Skills coach Neil Jenkins has welcomed the timely return of Jones, who played his first rugby after injury for the Ospreys 10 days ago, and North (shoulder) to full fitness.

“Adam (Jones) is quite a player to have coming back into your side, he is a British Lion and one of the best players in his position in the world so we are very happy that he has timed his return from injury to perfection,” said Jenkins.

“Craig (Mitchell) has done a great job for us so far this campaign, but it is reassuring to know Adam is there to slot straight back in. We know now that when everyone is fit we will have real depth in that front row. It goes without saying that we will miss Shane (Williams), any side would, but George presents an entirely different prospect.

“He will want to get involved in the game and he has got all the attributes to do himself and Wales justice on Saturday. He will be looking forward to the challenge, we are putting no pressure on him, he will just be told to go out there and enjoy his rugby.”

WALES:Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, George North; James Hook, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Matthew Rees (C), Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones
REPLACEMENTS: Richard Hibbard, John Yapp, Jonathan Thomas, Rob McCusker, Dwayne Peel, Stephen Jones, Morgan Stoddart