France v Wales - RBS Six Nations match preview

Last Updated: 09/02/13 4:26pm

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Wales interim coach Rob Howley insists his side have learned their lessons heading into their RBS Six Nations clash with France on Saturday.

Wales arrive in Paris on the back of a 30-22 defeat to Ireland - however the loss had looked like it could have been so much worse as the Irish came storming out the blocks.

A second-half fightback in Cardiff will have given Wales renewed hope, though, while Howley believes his side - that has lost eight on the bounce now - is confident there won't be a repeat of the same mistakes.

"Looking back at the (Ireland) game, from a coaches' and players' perspective the first-half performance wasn't good enough. It will not be replicated," said Howley, who hands starts to Justin Tipuric, Ryan Jones and Richard Hibbard at the Stade de France.

"We feel that the intensity and our mindset in training this week has been a little bit sharper. When you lose, or play like we did in the first half last week, it certainly focuses the mind."
Rob Howley

"Our discipline let us down. You need to have field position and possession, and we gave Ireland a lot of field position.

Discipline

"But when you look at that first half, it is all fixable. It is about us being accurate, executing and being disciplined. It has been discussed with the players, and I know we will start better this weekend.

"We've talked about the plan we want to play and how we implement it. You can't give any side a foothold in a game through your own lack of discipline and unforced errors.

"We've lost eight games in a row, but the wonderful thing about the Six Nations is every game is taken in isolation, but you make sure you learn from the previous week.

"We feel that the intensity and our mindset in training this week has been a little bit sharper. When you lose, or play like we did in the first half last week, it certainly focuses the mind."

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made two changes for clash, with Mathieu Bastareaud and Jocelino Suta coming into the side.

France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 1 Yannick Forestier, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 3 Nicolas Mas, 4 Jocelino Suta, 5 Yoann Maestri, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (capt), 8 Louis Picamoles.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Florian Fritz

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 1 Gethin Jenkins, 2 Richard Hibbard, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Andrew Coombs, 5 Ian Evans, 6 Ryan Jones (capt), 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Toby Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Scott Williams.

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