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Shock starters for Wales squad facing France

Wales has made surprising selections for their clash against France this Sunday. 

Notably, Joe Roberts and Owen Watkin have been unexpectedly named as starters, while Captain Dafydd Jenkins undergoes a positional shift from the second row to blindside flanker. Will Rowlands joins Adam Beard in the second row, completing the alterations to the forward pack.

Warren Gatland unveiled his lineup on Wednesday morning, introducing these changes in a bid to secure Wales’ first victory in the Six Nations 2024. Ryan Elias takes the starting spot at hooker, with Elliot Dee poised to achieve his 50th cap from the bench.

Adding to the unexpected lineup adjustments, Alex Mann, a consistent starter at number six in the previous three matches, finds himself on the bench. Mackenzie Martin, who made his debut against Ireland a week ago, is also included among the replacements.

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

“It’ll be a tough, physical challenge from France on Sunday particularly up front. We know they will start hard and it’s about us staying in the fight, having good line speed defensively and keeping our discipline. We’re looking for an 80 minute performance.

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“We’re excited to be back at home for our last two matches and looking forward to getting out in front of a passionate Welsh crowd this weekend.”

Squad

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 (capt)

7. Tommy Reffell, 

8. Aaron Wainwright.

The replacements are: 

16. Elliot Dee, 

17. Corey Domachowski, 

18. Dillon Lewis, 

19. Alex Mann, 

20. Mackenzie Martin, 21. Gareth Davies, 

22. Ioan Lloyd,

23. Mason Grady. 

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